GlobeSt.com is providing wall-to-wall coverage of ICSC’s RECon show in Las Vegas May 20-22. Subscribe to the Retail Ticket for pre-event articles, live video interviews on site and post-conference analysis.

Brandon Duff, regional director at Stan Johnson Co.

There is a great deal of new and existing retailers executing aggressive “new store openings” nationwide. That is according to Brandon Duff, regional director at Stan Johnson Co., one of the many we spoke with recently about the upcoming ICSC RECon event, held in Las Vegas. Duff tells GlobeSt.com that he looks forward to forward to hearing more about the expansion plans in today’s 2018 environment.

When asked how this year’s conference would be different than in years past, Duff says that in recent years, most investors assumed a continued low interest rate environment for the foreseeable future. “But now that rates are seemingly on the rise, I anticipate more discussions centered around the capital markets environment and how it might impact investment strategies going forward.”

Naveen Jaggi, president of retail at JLL

Naveen Jaggi, president of retail at JLL, tells GlobeSt.com that there is still likely to be a high level of overall activity, but it is vastly different than 12 months ago the last time the industry convened in Las Vegas. “I think we will see a lot of re-tenanting or re-working of existing pads as the recent rash of bankruptcies will likely cast somewhat of a pall on the conference this year.”

According to Jaggi, a main topic of conversation among landlords is likely to be the increased real, or shadow, vacancies that arise as a result of these retailer bankruptcies and how to creatively deal with them. Even so, he expects the mood will be “cautiously optimistic, even in the midst of the less than stellar backdrop, as underlying consumer fundamentals have remained relatively strong through the first quarter of the year.”

Jeff Rutten, COO and founder of Altitude Trampoline Parks.

One retailer we spoke with is excited at where the industry stands today. Jeff Rutten, COO and founder of Altitude Trampoline Parks, tells GlobeSt.com that it is a great time for the indoor entertainment industry.

“Not only are consumers spending more on experience but also the availability of prime retail boxes has opened opportunities that trampoline parks previously did not have access to,” Rutten says. “When Altitude first started attending ICSC five years ago it was very difficult to get landlords to understand the concept and legitimacy of the trampoline park industry. Altitude attends ICSC annually with full schedules and has been able to create very valuable relationships that turn into leases. It is important for Altitude to find real estate that is convenient for our guests in order to begin their experience with ease of access to the building through to our amazing customer service. Current trends being that consumers are more willing to spend on new adventures we want to deliver a great experience not only for our jumpers but also for adults who may want a quiet place to catch up on emails with a nice cup of coffee.”

Keep checking back with GlobeSt.com in the next month for more retail coverage as we continue to speak with attendees on their expectations of the upcoming event as well as trends they are seeing.