Retail Design Collaborative

3 Happy Trends in Retail Development

3 Happy Trends in Retail Development


The bar cart came rolling by. Following a full day of site visits and hand-shaking, I happily treated myself to a martini and settled in for a roundtable conversation with my partners.

I hadn’t even finished the second sip when I was pinged with breaking news: Sudan is suffering an alarming increase in locust infestations, our national security advisor resigned, and – insult to injury - the Broncos still don’t have a starting quarterback.

In short, it’s not good.

On a scale that has far less to do with imminent demise but still pleases the fatalists, there are challenges in development impacting us as architects and designers. Shifts in public policies and a rise in no or slow-growth development movements, to name a few.

But, I’m a man of optimism. If the never-ending stream of headlines are negative, my inner north pulls that much stronger towards the opportunities revealing themselves to our industry.

Here are three trends I’ve experienced recently that you can hang your hat on:

  1. CITIES ARE INTENTIONAL. After coasting for a few decades on the wave of what seemed like growth-for-growth’s-sake, cities are focusing on making their postcodes more livable. Social equity, transportation, special needs housing, density and growth issues are now firmly at the center of their decision-making.
  2. WE KNOW WHAT CONSUMERS WANT. Thanks to demographic and generational analyses, we know just which kind commodities the boomers will buy online, and that nearly 70% of millennials would rather spend their dollars on experience than apparel
  3. TENANTS JUST MIGHT HAVE EXTRAORDINARY SOCIAL VALUE SYSTEMS. With an influx of hybrid organizations such as Toms, Dog for Dog, and Warby Parker, business owners and consumers are blowing wide open the doors between revenue and social responsibility.

For those of us in commercial and retail architecture, this list is almost positive enough to take away the sting of the Broncos inept offensive line last season.

Historically, we have been Yes Men and Women, delivering beautiful places for retailers to do their thing. But more and more, there is a conversation between developers, tenants and leaders in architecture. And the topic is the intersection of what they do, what we do, and what people do.

In short, it’s really good.

A few more red-lettered captions buzzed their way into my conscience before I turned the ringer off. With the push of a button and the swish of a homemade artisanal pickled onion in my glass, the threats of the day dissolved, giving the glow of future opportunities center stage.

Written by David Sheldon, Vice President of Client Engagement

Related News


Research - 02/16/2017