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Men’s Luxury, Car Washes, 4 Retailer Updates and a Spike in Cross-Regional Investment in Retail Properties

September 7, 2023

Make Room for Men’s Luxury

In the redeveloped south wing of Scottsdale Fashion Square, a significant chunk of space is dedicated to men. Macerich invested millions to revamp the wing at the Arizona upscale mall, pictured at top. “Beyond dedicated, standalone luxury stores for men from Gucci and Louis Vuitton, both now open and doing very well, we continue to see top global luxury flagships here dedicating more store space to the men’s market,” Macerich senior executive vice president of leasing Doug Healey said on an earnings call. “This includes Dior, which features men’s lounge seating and other elevated experiences just for men, plus Salvatore Ferragamo, Christian Louboutin and others. It’s a remarkable phenomenon.”

At Macerich’s 44 properties, sales of men’s apparel grew 8% year over year in the second quarter. At the owner’s 10 centers with the highest sales per square foot, including Scottsdale Fashion Square, they increased a 13%.

The property is growing beyond men’s luxury, as well. Two new fine dining restaurants are set to open soon, memberships already are sold out at the new, four-level Life Time, and Caesars Republic Scottsdale, the first non-gaming hotel from the famed Caesars brand, is set to open there in 2024.

More on Men’s Fashion

Dior Sets Up Shop for Men in Miami’s Design District
Lululemon Boosts Men’s Sales by 15% in Q2
Todd Snyder Opens 14th Store

Car Washes’ Capability to Compete for Locations

Private equity is helping car washes compete with fast-food chains for the most convenient and accessible locations, according to Placer.ai senior vice president of marketing Ethan Chernofsky. And it shows. Car wash visits increased 18.5% year over year during the second quarter while overall retail visits declined by 1.8%, according to Placer.ai.

Summit Wash Holdings, aided by New Mountain Capital, is one that’s expanding. It operates 37 Russell Speeder’s Car Wash and Waters Car Wash units in the Northeast, Florida and Nebraska and wants to develop new units and buy existing operators across the country. It purchased Florida-based Squeeky’s Car Wash this year. And Golden Gate Capital is funding Tidal Wave Auto Spa, which will reach 200 locations this fall, 47 of those having opened in 2023.

Perhaps they were inspired by private equity firm Leonard Green & Partners successful initial public offering in 2022 of Mister, the largest U.S. car wash chain by units, according to multiple sources. Mister Car Wash opened 30 units last year to reach 434, according to Car Wash Advisory.

Another factor fueling car wash visits is that they’re an affordable luxury, Chernofsky said in a video on LinkedIn. Smart operators are snagging the best locations to serve the commuters who crave this affordable luxury, Chernofsky said. “There is something special happening in this space, and it speaks to their ability to identify the right locations to expand into.”

Express car washes account for much of new development. Express car washes are quick and automated; a customer drives onto a conveyor belt that transports the car through a wash tunnel. At the pay station, they select a wash package and pay at an automated machine or with an attendant. The process takes less than five minutes, and the customer then can vacuum the car's interior using self-serve tools.

4 Retailers Making Headlines This Week

Books-a-Million is taking 2nd & Charles farther west. The concept — in which pop culture enthusiasts trade used books, music, games and collectibles — has opened its first unit west of Colorado, in Orem, Utah. Since its first store opened in 2010 in Birmingham, Alabama, 2nd & Charles has expanded to 47 stores in 19 states.

Banana Republic is giving home decor a go. A website for BR Home has debuted, and the collection of furnishings and decor items will appear in select U.S. stores this month. A pair of BR Home pop-ups will open in New York City and Los Angeles.

Digitally native fine jeweler Brilliant Earth is expanding into malls. The company opened its first two mall locations in August, at Garden City, New York’s Roosevelt Field on Long Island and Pennsylvania’s King of Prussia. A third mall location will open on Sept. 14 at California’s Westfield Galleria at Roseville. These three bring Brilliant Earth's brick-and-mortar portfolio to 37 locations.

Khaadi is growing in the U.S. The apparel brand, which sells traditional Pakistani and Western apparel, will open a 5,491-square-foot store in Northern Virginia’s Tysons Corner Center. The brand is owned by Weaves Group and has more than 45 brick-and-mortar stores in Pakistan, along with a handful of U.K. and Middle East locations.

A Spike in Cross-Regional Investment in Retail Properties

International investors are increasing their exposure to retail properties, especially in North America, even as cross-regional investment across all property sectors has shrunk. Cross-regional investment in the global retail property sector totaled $5.8 billion in the first half of 2023, up 20% year over year, according to CBRE’s tally. Retail was the only commercial property sector in which such investment increased in the first half, when it accounted for 20% of all cross-regional investment volume. That’s largely because investors think they can buy retail properties at relatively low prices and get higher returns than on other kinds of commercial properties, according to CBRE experts.

North America led the dealmaking action. The increase in cross-regional investment in retail properties owed mostly to Singaporean sovereign wealth fund GIC's $14 billion acquisition, in partnership with Oak Street, of single-tenant net lease specialist Store. Altogether, global investors put $2.8 billion into U.S. deals during the first half of 2023. Meanwhile, cross-regional capital inflow to European retail properties was $1.9 billion, and Asia-Pacific’s was $104 million.

High interest rates depressed overall cross-regional investment by 52% year over year in the first half, mostly by killing or slowing deals in the office and multifamily sectors, according to CBRE. Industrial and logistics properties were even more sought after than retail, making up 37% of all cross-regional commercial property deals.

According to CBRE, cross-regional investment into North American retail soon could reach or even exceed the $8.6 billion for the first half of 2018, pre-pandemic.

By Brannon Boswell

Executive Editor, Commerce + Communities Today


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