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US retail trends likely to come to Australia

Foot traffic analytics platform, Placer.ai has shared four trends that it believes will dominate the changing retail landscape and continue to gain momentum in 2020. Although these trends are centred on the US retail sector, we can expect to see them make their mark on local territory.

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The Rise of the Magaproject

The American Dream Mall recently opened phase three of its latest attraction within the mega-mall – Big SNOW – the first and only indoor, real snow, year-round ski and snow resort in North America. Meanwhile, the country’s largest shopping centre is expected to open in Miami in 2025.

Placer.ai said the immediate impact from these major developments goes far beyond the single project with foot traffic driven by both locals and tourists. “Megaprojects are rising all over the country and changing the retail landscape and experience.”

Retail apocalypse versus correction

There were 9,302 store closures in the last year in the US alone, compared to 5,844 store closures in 2018, according to the Coresight Research report, ‘Weekly US and UK store openings and closures tracker 2019’. However, 4,392 store openings were announced compared to 3,258 openings in 2018.

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Placer.ai data shows that not all store closures are equal. Stores like Sears and Kmart are struggling but Walmart realised their superstores were cannibalising one another and found strategic closures optimised efficiency.

Nic(h)e and new

There is a rising number of product-oriented companies focusing on expanding their branded retail footprint and Placer.ai expects this to continue. Nike, Puma, Lululemon and Levis are all focusing on their relationships with consumers and using their bricks and mortar stores to strengthen online sales. Newer direct-to-consumer brands are following the leaders.

Maximised retail footprints

Experiential retail is being led by brands like Lululemon and CVS. The former opened a Chicago location that provides space for classes and a restaurant for a post-workout recharge resulting in much higher off-peak traffic. The same concept was embraced by CVS’s Health Hubs. Placer.ai data showed that visits were lasting longer and taking place during periods that didn’t align with the national average.

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