LOS ANGELES—What were once shopping mall anchors have nowdecayed to nothing more than antiquated big box shells. Retailbehemoths like Toys “R” US and Payless ShoeSource have alreadyfiled for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, with Payless closingover 400 stores. JCPenney shut its doors to 138 stores in 2017 withMacy's, Kmart, and Sears not far behind. Credit Suisse released areport stating 25% of shopping centers in America are going to shutdown in the next five years. Let's not forget, according to theBureau of Labor Statistics, one in 10 Americans work in the retailsector. These brick and mortar store closures could result in up toone billion square feet of empty retail space across the nation,which means the same landlords who used to hold all the power arenow scrambling to fill these vacancies.

Coming into Q2, control has shifted to the tech savvy brands inpursuit of retail, capitalizing on these diminishing lease rates.The smart money is repositioning archaic retail concepts as newcultural anchors. We are seeing e-tailers like Amazon, Zappos,Google, Warby Parker, Bonobos, and Lesara use the agile retailbusiness model (i.e. big data) to track consumer metrics. They arethen using those analytics to calculatively open physical locationsnear their last mile distribution facilities in order to reachtheir customer more efficiently and cost effectively. With timebeing the new currency, companies are creatively offeringpersonalized interactions (perhaps a second of “ah ha”).

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Natalie Dolce

Natalie Dolce, editor-in-chief of GlobeSt.com and GlobeSt. Real Estate Forum, is responsible for working with editorial staff, freelancers and senior management to help plan the overarching vision that encompasses GlobeSt.com, including short-term and long-term goals for the website, how content integrates through the company’s other product lines and the overall quality of content. Previously she served as national executive editor and editor of the West Coast region for GlobeSt.com and Real Estate Forum, and was responsible for coverage of news and information pertaining to that vital real estate region. Prior to moving out to the Southern California office, she was Northeast bureau chief, covering New York City for GlobeSt.com. Her background includes a stint at InStyle Magazine, and as managing editor with New York Press, an alternative weekly New York City paper. In her career, she has also covered a variety of beats for M magazine, Arthur Frommer's Budget Travel, FashionLedge.com, and Co-Ed magazine. Dolce has also freelanced for a number of publications, including MSNBC.com and Museums New York magazine.