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Top Takeaways From ICSC Las Vegas 2024

Last month, Milrose's team of code, zoning, and permitting experts attended the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) Las Vegas where they had the opportunity to network with 25,000 commercial real estate leaders and learn about the latest trends and developments shaping the retail landscape.  Known as the premier U.S.-based commercial real estate event of the year, ICSC Las Vegas 2024 did not disappoint.

Following the event, we caught up with Milrose's Casey McCormick who shared his key takeaways from the show as well as the latest research findings presented by his colleague, Neil Saunders, Managing Director and Retail Analyst at GlobalData Retail. Read on for a summary of their expert insights.


Pictured above from Left to Right: Ranteg Sandhu, Marquise Davis, Roy Hasson, Dallas Cothrum Ph. D., Wes Hoblit, Casey McCormick 

  1. Inflation Impacting Consumer Spending: Retail consumer spending increased 3.5% in Q1 2024, driven by inflation, but underlying volumes grew slower at 1.6%. Consumers are cautious, cutting back on home-related spending and opting for cheaper food retailers to manage costs.

  2. Challenges in Retail Development: Retail ground-up development, particularly grocery-anchored and mixed-use projects, continues despite higher interest rates. Retailers face hurdles in lease negotiations due to inflated costs of capital and permitting delays.

3. Rise of Value and Middle-Market Retailers: Value retailers like Walmart thrive while luxury sectors slow. Middle-market retailers such as Abercrombie & Fitch and Urban Outfitters are rebounding by focusing on direct selling and customer-centric strategies.

4. Integration of Technology: Retailers increasingly rely on technology for visibility and operational efficiency. Companies like Woof Gang for Pet Care exemplify success through digital innovation, setting new benchmarks in customer experience and operational excellence.

Impact of Permitting Delays 

In the fast-paced world of retail, timing is crucial. Landlords and tenants race to finalize leases, with landlords eager to collect rent and tenants aiming to avoid dead rent. The narrow window for permit approval can make or break a project's success, adding complexity and uncertainty due to varying processes and requirements in each jurisdiction.

Casey’s conversations with colleagues at ICSC highlighted the vital importance of efficient permitting processes, stressing the ripple effect of delays across the entire development timeline. This underscores the critical need to hire an experienced retail expediter. Beth Azor, President of Azor Advisory Services illustrated this point during an ICSC panel, stating "We're now asking our tenants to use a permit avoid any problems or delays,".

The Milrose Family of Companies has decades of experience navigating the complex municipal approval process for retail projects across the country. From self-storage facilities to multi-site rollouts to mega-flagships, we've done it all. If you're seeking assistance with an upcoming retail project, book a meeting with Casey McCormick today for tailored guidance and comprehensive support.