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Ben Ashkenazy and Mickey Drexler Illustrate The Bright Future for Retail at The Real Deal’s Annual Real Estate Forum

At the Real Deal Real Estate Forum in New York, industry leaders Ben Ashkenazy and Mickey Drexler shared a positive outlook for retail real estate, emphasizing the strong consumer demand for outstanding social shopping and dining experiences.

At the annual Real Estate Forum hosted by The Real Deal at the Metropolitan Pavilion in New York City, prominent figures in retail real estate, Ben Ashkenazy and Mickey Drexler, shared a compelling vision of optimism for the future of the retail sector. Their discussion highlighted a dynamic landscape that is evolving amid significant post-Covid economic shifts.

Ben Ashkenazy commented on how Covid showed that retail is a key fabric of life in everyones daily lives .

Consumers are eager to go to the gym, the coffee shop, grocery stores, retail stores, bars and restaurants. People love the social aspect of retail.

The pandemic underscored the irreplaceable value of in-person shopping and dining experiences, continuing to serve as essential hubs for everyday life.

Echoing Ashkenazy's optimism, Mickey Drexler, a significant figure in the retail real estate industry, emphasized the importance of creating memorable shopping experiences. To stand out in the crowded retail market, Drexler pointed out that retailers are delivering distinctive and engaging environments that resonate with consumers.

The forum also touched on the current thriving state of the retail market. Ashkenazy expressed, "Retail has never been better," and stressed the industry as a social activity that starkly contrasts the isolation experienced during COVID-19 lockdowns.

This sentiment is supported with robust growth by major retailers such as Home Depot, Burlington Coat Factory, TJ Maxx, Target, and Walmart who have recorded substantial revenue increases ranging from 24% to 38% during the past 4 years.

Luxury brands such as LVMH, Cartier, and Hermes have also seen significant revenue growth north of 40% in the post-pandemic retail resurgence.

Leading retailers such as Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior are creating magnificent stores providing a compelling consumer shopping experience. Competitors are taking notice. Retailers are renovating their stores delivering their customers a great shopping experience.

This is evident nationwide in local strip malls to community type shopping centers. Nationwide, the retail vacancy rate stands at 4%, with New York City slightly higher at 5.9%.

Additionally, nationwide, new retail development has been hindered by inflation with high costs of labor, materials, and capital, limiting supply making new development projects economically unfeasible. This phenomenon presents a unique investment opportunity for retail experts with a keen eye and the skills to add value.

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