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Alan Clifton Kicks Off 2017 ICSC Western Conference

ICSC’s 2017 Western Conference and Deal Making event kicks off today in Los Angeles. Connect Media spoke with Passco’s Alan Clifton, who serves as Chair of this year’s conference, to gauge the temperature of attendees, find out who the big winners and not so big winners are, as well as ascertain what may be in store for the retail sector.

Q: What are some of the big trends you think will be on people’s minds at the 2017 ICSC Western Conference?
A: A few issues. First, who will survive after the Christmas sales season this year (Landlords wondering the most). Another is the growing influence of Amazon and its impact on the grocery industry. I feel the Sears/JCPenney/Macy’s story will be discussed by mall owners, but I feel the writing is on the wall for all three of them. Lastly, new concepts and current tenant expansion plans – who is coming into the market, who is expanding and in some cases, who is contracting.

Q: What sectors or markets have been the big winners so far this year, as well as the not so big winners?
A: Amazon is the Disrupter. Once they fully integrate Whole Foods, the grocery industry will have to react, which will be a positive for consumers. Word on the streets is that current tenants will slow down expansion unless they can get a great location, many retailers are putting capital and energy into their current stores, and food concepts will continue to come (and in most cases go) unless they are well capitalized and managed. Best in class (i.e. Hillstone) continue to be successful…and how many pizza concepts do you need? There will be more bankruptcy and a tell-tale sign of retail is the vacancy at successful malls (i.e. Fashion Island, South Coast Plaza, Spectrum in Orange County). If high traffic retail outlets have vacancy, using more temp tenants and you have several questionable tenants, something is going to give.

Q: What’s on the horizon for the balance of the year, and in 2018 for the retail sector?
A: I hear a lot of “wait and see” for the end of the year. I feel this year’s Christmas season will tell a lot, not only to landlords and what they are in store for in 2018, but those retailers on the bubble, the end of 2017 could signal the end of them.

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About Dennis Kaiser

Dennis Kaiser is Vice President of Content and Public Relations for Connect Commercial Real Estate. Dennis is a communications leader with more than 30 years of experience including as a journalist and in corporate and agency marketing communications roles. He is responsible for Connect’s client content operations and is involved in a range of initiatives ranging from content strategy, message development, copywriting, media relations, social media and content marketing services. In his most recent corporate communications roles, he led a regional public relations effort across Southern California for CBRE, played a key marketing role on JLL’s national retail team, and was responsible for directing the global public relations effort at ValleyCrest, the nation’s largest commercial landscape services company. In addition to his vast commercial real estate experience, Dennis has worked on communications and launch strategies for a number of residential projects such as Disney’s Celebration in Florida, Ritter Ranch in Palmdale California (7,200 homes, 22,000 acres), WaterColor in Florida and PremierGarage in Phoenix. Dennis’s agency background included firms such as Idea Hall and Macy + Associates. He has earned an outstanding reputation with organization leaders as a trusted advisor, strategic program implementer, consensus builder and exceptional collaborator. Dennis has developed and managed national communications programs for Fortune 500 companies to start-ups, both public and private. He’s successfully worked with journalists across the globe representing clients involved in major-breaking news stories, product launches, media tours, and company news announcements. Dennis has been involved in a host of charitable and community organizations including the American Cancer Society, Easter Seals, BoyScouts, Chrysalis Foundation, Freedom For Life, HOLA, L.A.’s BEST, Reach Out and Read, Super Bowl Host Committee, and Thunderbirds Charities.