Tuesday, May 22, 2012
REPORT: U.S. Retail rising again; driving market changes
The U.S. retail sector's well-documented bumpy ride to recovery in the wake of the Great Recession is now, according to a commercial real estate industry white paper, "speeding along faster than others, fueled by a flush of capital investment and smart marketing and branding strategies," that will include a tangible shift in intermodal transport trends in concert with the impending opening of the widened Panama Canal.
In a newly released white paper by real estate firm Colliers International entitled: "On the Road Again: What's Driving Retail Real Estate's Recovery and Who's Getting There First," retailers in the U.S. are reportedly regaining their footing via "sharp increases in 2012 capital expenditure budgets" that include technological improvements that integrate multiple channels such as brick and mortar, online, mobile, and catalog operations.
Retailers like Apple are opening new stores with in-store experiences that are "highly personalized" to contrast with online shopping by offering more interactivity with products in addition to using service as more of a selling point, according to the Colliers report.
Other factors that are contributing to an improving retail sector include a quietly improving housing market and jobs growth in U.S. manufacturing, where there is increased corporate demand for a more highly skilled labor force.
"As job and wage growth fuels consumer spending, retail properties benefit as revenues rise, and increased tenant demand leads to lower vacancy rates and higher rents," the report said.
Correspondingly, in the coming years, the widened Panama Canal will shift trade flows and drive demand for warehousing and increased proximity to intermodal transport infrastructures towards the U.S. East and Gulf coasts, the report said.
"Highly skilled labor in Midwest manufacturing facilities creates product that can then easily be transported by with rail cars loaded to Southeast port cities such as Charleston, Savannah, New Orleans, or Port Everglades," the Colliers report said.
Over the long term the white paper says intermodal trends will "completely flip the orientation of the container industry. Instead of most container traffic coming in from Los Angeles/Long Beach, Oakland, Portland, Seattle and heading east, it will likely enter from Charleston, Savannah, and Miami and head west."
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