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“The state of retail is very strong.” – ICSC CEO and President Tom McGee and DLC CEO Adam Ifshin

Adam Ifshin and Tom McGee sit down to discuss the state of open air retail at ICSC Las Vegas

ICSC Las Vegas 2024: Navigating the future of retail real estate

Last week, two leading figures in the retail industry, Adam Ifshin, Founder and CEO of DLC, and Tom McGee, President and CEO of ICSC, met at ICSC Las Vegas 2024, the largest and most significant retail real estate gathering. Here are six key points from their interview:

DLC Founder and CEO Adam Ifshin (right) and ICSC CEO and President Tom McGee during the annual ICSC convention In Las Vegas, May 19-20.
  1. State of the Industry: Tom McGee highlighted the current strength of the retail industry, noting a significant increase in demand for physical retail space. He emphasized the constrained supply due to limited new construction since the financial crisis, despite retail sales nearly doubling and US GDP growing by 40%.
  2. Demand and Supply Dynamics: Both Ifshin and McGee discussed how the pandemic accelerated trends, particularly the use of retail spaces as mini-fulfillment centers. This shift has led to high demand for retail space, with supply lagging due to high construction costs and limited availability of skilled labor.
  3. Industry Evolution and Resilience: McGee pointed out that, contrary to the narrative of a retail apocalypse, physical retail sales have grown almost every year since the financial crisis. The pandemic allowed the industry to adapt and accelerate changes that might have taken a decade, enhancing the value of physical retail spaces.
  4. ICSC’s Role and Adaptation: Ifshin praised McGee’s leadership during the pandemic when ICSC’s revenue dropped to zero. McGee used this period to make ICSC more member-centric and nimble, rethinking core service offerings and strengthening relationships within the industry.
  5. Future Prospects: McGee expressed optimism about the industry’s future, highlighting the influx of young talent and ICSC’s efforts to support and nurture this new generation. He mentioned the success of ICSC’s Next Generation Program and the involvement of students in their events.
  6. Event Success Metrics: Discussing the success of ICSC events, McGee emphasized the value participants get from networking rather than just attendance numbers. He noted that the post-pandemic desire for live events, especially among younger members, is strong, indicating a healthy future for industry gatherings.

Ifshin and McGee underscored the robust state of the retail real estate sector, the strategic adaptations made during the pandemic, and the promising future driven by new talent and innovative industry practices.

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