Retail real estate serves as a medium for bringing wholesale products to consumers. This product type can range in size from a 3,000 square foot single tenant building to an 800,000 square foot Super Regional Center, and requires extensive leasing, property management, financial analysis, and advisory services talent. Tenant types vary greatly from a grocery store or home improvement center to small electronics stores and dry cleaners. Typically, retailers will lease space in a retail center in order to sell their products to the public; however some major national retailers will either buy their own building or develop a site themselves. The development and location of retail real estate is heavily driven by household income. It can be said that "retail follows rooftops," because retailers need to be in convenient locations for their consumers, and they want to be near the consumers that have disposable income to spend in their store.
Information on this page provided courtesy of Cornell University Baker Program in Real Estate
Retail real estate is only as successful as the tenants who occupy the space. Currently, retailers are being hurt tremendously by the downturn in the economy. As incomes are being cut or lost, excess spending stops and retailers lose business. This in turn is causing rents to decline and vacancies to increase. Much of retail development is currently on hold, yet as the economy begins to recover and consumer confidence increases, there will be tremendous opportunities for retail investors, developers, and owners to capitalize on the upturn. Current opportunities include leasing and workouts with current tenants or buying underperforming assets now and revitalizing them through strong leasing efforts. Retail real estate will always have a large presence in the market, as the US has one of the most robust consumer economies in the world. The recovery will no doubt take time, but it will turn around and the retail property owners and tenants who can outlast the downturn will once again find success.