Each year, I look forward to attending RECon in Las Vegas and this year is no exception.
As the event’s 2019 marketing campaign’s anchor slogan – “Less traditional. More innovative.” – suggests, the convention will feature the latest technologies, brands and innovations that are driving our industry forward. There is no better place to represent strategic growth interests for retailers – my company, The Container Store – included, and learn about the latest trends and influences affecting retailers and landlords, alike.
At RECon 2019, ICSC is building on the successful Retail in Focus program that debuted at New York Deal Making in December. The section, located in the North Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center, will spotlight emerging brands with panel presentations and seminars specifically geared to retail brands and retail property owners. Specialty Retail (formerly SPREE) has been added to this year’s Retail in Focus, allowing attendees to meet the founders of up-and-coming brands, learn how to open successful pop-up stores and get tips on navigating the leasing process.
Central Hall will feature the Health and Wellness Center, new for this year’s event. The pavilion will highlight the fast-growing class of health practitioners, pharmacies and fitness uses. These tenants provide weekly traffic to shopping centers, give more visibility to their co-tenants and are a strong addition to the full services required by our collective customers.
Innovation Exchange, a showcase featuring the cutting-edge products of numerous tech firms, will be located in the Grand Lobby. Technological advancements are allowing retailers to automate, predict and remove friction points from the customer experience. Virtual/augmented reality and artificial intelligence are being utilized in new ways across the entire product and service cycle — and will ultimately allow retailers to provide a better customer-facing experience.
Seminars offered throughout the conference cover topics such as recruiting and developing talent, understanding opportunity zones, the projected impact of autonomous vehicles, leasing and negotiation tactics and strategies supporting food-and-beverage uses. The opportunity to learn from industry experts on issues impacting retail, development and investment aspects of our business creates additional value for your convention attendance.
As I prepare for RECon, I am reminded that retail real estate is a relationship-oriented business. Having the opportunity to meet with several of our existing and future landlords over a two-and-a-half-day conference is both convenient and efficient. Updating landlords on our company’s growth plans and discussing their perspective on various markets is extremely beneficial. Our most successful partnerships with property owners are best facilitated with face-to-face meetings and transparent communication.
As we know, change is inherent in the retail industry; those retailers who invest in relevant customer experiences, advancing technologies and the convergence of digital and physical store consumer touchpoints will agree that the future of retail holds great promise. RECon provides an unparalleled opportunity to discover, explore and activate those opportunities. I look forward to meeting you there!
For more information about RECon, click here.
Valerie Richardson, CRX, CLS
ICSC Past Chairman, Vice President - Real Estate, The Container Store, Coppell, TX, United States
Valerie Richardson, CRX, CLS, has over 35 years of experience in retail real estate, working for brands such as Trammell Crow Company, Ann Taylor, Barnes & Noble and most recently, The Container Store, where she has led the real estate team for 19 years. An active industry participant and advocate, Ms. Richardson was elected Chairman of ICSC for the 2018-2019 term, after having served on the Board of Trustees since 2004. She was the first ICSC Chairman to come to the post from an active retail company.
In her role at The Container Store, Ms. Richardson is responsible for site evaluation and lease negotiation, along with the coordination of store design and construction for the brand’s nationwide expansion program. She currently serves on ICSC’s Executive Board, its Nominating and Governance and Executive Compensation Committees and, until 2018, on the Board of the ICSC Foundation. She also serves on the Board of Directors for Kimco Realty Corp and served as a trustee at Baylor Scott & White Medical Center. Ms. Richardson earned an M.B.A. in Real Estate from the University of North Texas and a B.S. in Education from Texas State University. She resides in Dallas, Texas, is married, and has two children and one grandchild.