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Excuse me while I step outside of my normal role in this spaceof focusing solely on the net lease market. Because there is adynamic impacting all of retail—the general market as well as netleased retail—that needs to be addressed, namely, the myth of aretail apocalypse.

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We have heard for years now about the death of brick-and-mortarretail at the hands—or is that the thumbs—of e-commerce. Indeed,according to Business Insider, some 1700 stores are expected toshutter this year. A short list would include Pier 1, which expectsto close 450 units; the Gap, which will click off the lights in 230stores; ditto Chico's, at 200 of its properties; and Forever 21,which will close 178 stores. This data was also brought out in arecent webinar conducted by the Institute of Real Estate Managementon Trends for 2020.

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Certainly, the consumer press salivates over such headlines, inthe grand old if-it-bleeds-it-leads tradition, and simplisticallypointing to our home shopping as the driver. Happily, the businesspress, GlobeSt.com included, takes a more nuanced view. There areunderlying reasons for the ongoing trend of store closures, andyes, while e-commerce has a hand in it, the reasonable response tothis apparently dire news would be to ask the follow-up question:Why?

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If people are shopping differently today, and they are, it isnot to the exclusion of brick-and-mortar venues, but rather tothose brands that have not been able to think in an omnichannelstrategy of bricks-and-clicks working together. It is to theexclusion of formats that are simply old and tired, and neverforget the devastating impact of simple, old school poormanagement.

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If online shopping was killing traditional retail, why then arethe likes of the Home Depot and Macy's—that's right,Macy's—typically counted among the nation's top 10 internetretailers? Because they have jumped that hurdle of how to marry thetwo shopping trends. (Macy's is shuttering stores that arenon-performing, putting its capital into more robust omnichannelstrategies.)

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Smart owners are getting into the game as well, and they'reramping up the immersive experience that shopping can be, extendingthe definition of shopping by folding in restaurants and otheramenities, from Instagram walls to trampoline parks. The Americanmall is not dead. It is being redefined, as is all of retail, netlease tenants included. Times of redefinition are also times ofgreat upheaval, and the announcements of store closures are but thetip of that transitional iceberg.

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And so, the next time you read a headline blaring the closure ofthis or that iconic brand, take a breath. Step back. And ask:"Why?"

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Jonathan Hipp

Jonathan Hipp began his career in real estate over 25 years ago. In his early years as a broker, he ventured into the net lease industry and quickly began leading the US net lease market, closing over $3 billion in transactions. In 2005, Jon founded Calkain Companies, a company focused solely on net lease investment services. As President and CEO, he has been instrumental in building the firm into one of the leading Net Lease real estate companies, transacting over $12 billion of net lease deal volume over the past 13 years. He has expanded Calkain’s services to include brokerage, advisory, asset management, capital markets, and industry research. He has become a well-known resource, panelist, and speaker at various Net Lease and Industry conferences and is a regular contributor to GlobeSt.com on real estate trends. In June 2015, Jon’s passion for the real estate business was again recognized as he was nominated for the Top Real Estate Player in the DC area by SmartCEO magazine.