The “doom-and-gloom” narrative surrounding the retail real estate industry have been so overblown that many are missing out on the shopping “renaissance” that is expected to bring in $807 billion this year, experts warn.
According to a new survey by the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), consumers are coming out in droves this holiday season with plans to spend 4.5 percent more than last year.
And 84 percent of shoppers polled will be headed to a mall or a shopping center to spend their hard-earned cashed.
“Every industry goes through ebbs and flows, but we are currently in the midst of a retail renaissance that was ignited last year,” Stephanie Cegielski, retail expert and spokeswoman of ICSC tells FOX Business.
Cegielski adds the bump in spending is driven by consumer confidence that heading into the fourth quarter is at its highest level in 18 years.
“What our survey found is 54 percent of shoppers plan to spend more this year than last year, with 28 percent stating a change in job status or income as a factor in their increased spending, demonstrating the impact the economy is playing this holiday season.”
The shift says ICSC started at the beginning of last year’s holiday season and has continued throughout the year.
“It makes me bullish for what’s ahead,” Cegielski notes.
ICSC says there is a direct and positive correlation between having both a physical location and a digital presence. The council found that opening a physical store leads to a 37 percent average gain in overall traffic to a retailer’s website and increases its share of web traffic within that market by an average of 27 percent.
“The opposite is also true as web traffic tends to fall when stores close. The winners of this holiday season will be those embracing an omnichannel approach,” it said.
But despite ICSC's optimism, the bullish stances, news of retailers closing their doors continues to dominate headlines.
Earlier this month, Mattress Firm filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and announced plans to close up to 700 locations. The owner of Sears and Kmart, which is also rumored to be planning to file for bankruptcy soon, announced it’s closing an additional dozen store before the holidays, in addition to the hundreds it has already closed.
Victoria’s Secret even announced during a recent investor call that it’s closing 20 of its roughly 1,000 North American locations.