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Archive for September, 2009

Is there a benefit to ICSC membership?

Written by
Rickey Hayes
Retail Attractions, LLC

Cities and towns across America, and really, globally, compete for a limited number of retail store openings each year. The past two years’ economic challenges mean the number of new retail store openings, refurbishments or expansions is significantly smaller and therefore more hotly contested than ever. More and more communities are waking up to retail growth as an economic development strategy and are trying to attract new businesses.

Not only can retail growth add jobs and improve the quality of life in a community, but sales tax revenue from retail sales also drives the economic engine of just about every community in the country. Attracting retail isn’t as easy as it often seems…. Cities must stay on top of market trends, technological tools, development rules and regulations, and still find time to effectively market themselves to the right people.

One of the best tools we’ve found to help cities who want to grow their retail sector is membership in the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC). Each year more and more communities are taking advantage of the great networking possibilities that exist at the ICSC events held regularly around the country, especially the annual spring convention in Las Vegas. Although the economy has recently affected the attendance at the national and regional events, ICSC events are still one of the most effective ways a community can broadcast its retail needs and market its strengths. ICSC research provides crucial data on market trends, both globally and at the local level. Being able to think and plan ahead and react in a timely way helps a governmental entity stay on top of sometimes unpredictable market trends. For that reason alone, cities should encourage key staff members to become ICSC members.

Attendees at the events, whether local, regional or national, are always from a broad spectrum of the retail world. Real estate professionals, brokers, lawyers, consultants, site selectors, developers, architects, engineers, and others all share their wares with retailers and communities who are represented at the events. The ICSC organization also does a great job of providing cutting edge data relevant to the needs of the retail community and governmental entities involved in the various disciplines of retail development.

Retail Attractions, LLC represents our client cities at ICSC events three times a year, and our partner cities benefit from our ICSC involvement. Over the last several years, I can tie hundreds of thousands of square feet of retail development directly back to a meeting at an ICSC event.