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Phil Lavoie, COO at Gotham Organization Phil Lavoie, COO at Gotham Organization

The U.S. retail industry in 2018 was marked by a variety of key trends, including a rise in experiential retail, steady closure rates among physical retail chains, and ongoing popularity of subscription-based e-commerce verticals. While brick and mortar stores, from mom-and-pop shops to major retail brands, continued to experience a lag in retail activity, one area in particular emerged as one of the industry’s most successful case studies—food halls.

As developers seek ways to mitigate the downward trend of traditional retail activity, food halls emerged, and in my estimation, will remain, a viable solution in 2019, spurring on-site activity among consumers despite e-commerce dominance via online shopping. While research shows that digital shopping leads brick-and-mortar shopping activity among consumers, food halls satisfy a variety of intrinsic shopping desires that e-commerce simply cannot accommodate. According to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, millennials spend 44% of their food-allotted budget on eating out, with 52% of adults looking to try new cuisines. In addition, 61% of adults report that they would prefer to spend money on experiences, including eating out, over purchasing a physical item from a store.

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