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LOS ANGELES-Retail developers and landlords may soon be changing the way they do business, according to a group of experts at Urban Land Institute’s 2005 Fall Meeting. The panelists in a discussion entitled, “Out of the Box Retail: To Infinity and Beyond,” discussed strategies to make the most out of retail developments.The discussion was moderated by NormaLynn Cutler, president of Marina del Rey-based Cutler Enterprises. Panelists included Linda Berman, vice president of Caruso Affiliated Holdings; Bill Engle, principal of Callison Architecture Inc. and Edward Sotto, principal experience designer of Sotto Inc. The discussion focused on remaining on the cutting edge of the retail market by “thinking outside of the box.” According to Engle, 25% of shopping centers in the nation are suffering low sales due largely in part to their uniformity. Engle stressed that retail shopping centers must conform to an area’s culture and demographics in order to remain successful. Engle used the department store Nordstrom’s as an example of a retailer changes its format from location to location. “There is not any one (location) that is the same,” Engle said. He added that one of the biggest challenges facing retail is “understanding current trends and people’s personal preferences.”The pop-up retail phenomenon, where a retailer spends only a few months, weeks or days in a particular location was another topic covered. Panelist agreed that this trend creates buzz for retailers and brands and is expected to be adopted by more tenants.Meow Mix, Target and fashion designer Imitation of Christ were mentioned as companies who had used pop-up retail and found it enormously successful. “In the future, everyone will be in retail for five minutes,” Berman predicted.Creating an environment that evokes a positive emotional response from a consumer was another trend discussed by the panelists. Luxury carmaker Aston Martin received a boost in sales after their dealership was reinvented as Club Aston, a James Bond-inspired lounge.Designed by Sotto, access to the club is permitted by a thumbprint and includes a fireplace, plasma screen TVs and leather couches and chairs. According to Sotto, in order to make an impact on the consumer a retail space has to “deliver on emotion.”ULI’s 2005 Fall Meeting is being held Downtown at the Los Angeles Convention Center from Nov. 1-4. The annual conference is expected to draw an estimated 5,000 industry leaders. Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villarigosa and NBA legend Earvin “Magic” Johnson are among the keynote speakers.

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