Some hot global insights into the retail world

Some hot global insights into the retail world

Retail - Workplace February 2020

Retail, but not as you know it

Being a retailer is not for the faint-hearted – so hats off to those who are prepared to back themselves and throw open their doors to a bricks-and-mortar store.

It’s always good to know what’s happening on the retail scene around the world – so here’s a quick “squizz” at a few topical happenings as 2020 gets underway…

A hand up

In China, many landlords and listed property entities were quick to react to the Coronavirus outbreak announcing rent and property management reductions for a period of a few months to counteract the expected drop in foot traffic at malls and shopping centres.

Further, real estate developers in China joined forces to contribute funds and supplies to help fight the outbreak.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong retailers have had a rough time of it in the past 12 months with fallout from the US-China trade war and anti-government protests disrupting shopping habits. And now, there’s the uncertainty of the Coronavirus outbreak in the mix.

According to news sources, shoppers in Hong Kong are actively avoiding crowded areas like shopping malls, many major businesses have instructed employees to work from home and hotels are predicting plummeting occupancy levels.

The challenge lies in retaining a physical retail presence in the face of rising eCommerce thanks to health concerns.

Ghost kitchens are flourishing

Empty malls throughout the United States are steadily being repurposed into kitchens to meet escalating consumer demand for online meal deliveries.

The Wall Street Journal reports that two industries forever changed by eCommerce – restaurants and shopping malls – are forging new alliances, and kitchens are springing up in deserted retail spaces.

Accor Hotels is partnering with a hospitality firm to develop some 200 ghost kitchens at malls and hotels in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Miami.

While the New Zealand retail market has not experienced the same drop off in patronage as in the US, we expect to see growth in the ghost kitchen space – particularly in Auckland, our largest market, as online ordering technology evolves making it easier to click and eat.

Curb-side pick up

In New Zealand, the term curb-side pick-up usually refers to rubbish collection and foraging through Council-initiated inorganic collections.

However, in the US, many high-profile retailers have introduced “curb-side pick-ups” as an online order fulfilment mechanism.

Most recently, retailer Target has launched a curb-side service in California and Colorado.

Customers order products through Target’s app and drive to their selected store. On arrival at a designated car parking spot, employees deliver the ordered goods direct to customers’ cars. The goods are usually ready to be uplifted within an hour of ordering.

Target will roll out the service to nearly 1,000 of its bricks-and-mortar stores in dozens of states.

Not wanting to be left out, Amazon, naturally, is also onboard this train. Partnering with Whole Foods Market, Amazon Prime members can shop at Whole Foods online and pick up their order within 30 minutes – without getting out of the car.

Just as Dylan sang ion the 1960s, “the times they are a-changing…”

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