The pandemic meant rapid changes for retailers and retail owners. 2021 will be more of the same.
The pandemic forced retailers and retail owners to adapt quickly. These changes were different than adjusting business models to meet new online shopping trends, as was the case for the years leading up to the pandemic. Instead, retailers needed to adapt physical spaces to accommodate social distancing and health-and-safety requirements. 2021 will be more of the same, with retail and retail owners forces to focus on adaptation to stay alive.
“Retail developers will continue to be forced to adapt, by working with their tenants to keep them open and improving their projects to deal with whatever the future brings,” Dan Villalpando, a partner at Cox, Castle & Nicholson, tells GlobeSt.com. “After all, none of us could have predicted what happened in 2020. Isn’t it safe to say the same thing about 2021?”
In 2020, retail developers and owners learned to work closely with tenants both to support business and respond to new regulatory challenges. This trend is likely to gain momentum through 2021. “Many retail developers spent much of 2020 trying to support their tenants, either through negotiating rent relief amendments to help keep struggling tenants afloat, or by spending money to attempt to entice leery customers to return to their projects,” says Villalpando. “Some retail developers have helped organize curbside pickup programs at their properties to assist smaller retailers who lack the resources to establish their own programs.”
Retail players made all of the standard changes: installing hand sanitizing stations, posting safety signage and enhancing cleaning policies. “The common thread is landlords working with tenants to keep businesses open, and somewhat profitable, and making retail establishments as safe as possible for consumers in order to lure them back,” says Villalpando.
The good news is that there is still strong demand for retail in general. In fact, many experts have noted pent-up demand for all aspects of retail and entertainment, which is likely to support a swift recovery. “When it comes to the world of retail development, the pandemic has certainly highlighted the difference between essential and non-essential retail, and the different types of retail developments have been affected accordingly,” says Villalpando. “The good news is that many in the industry expect consumers to return with a vengeance once the pandemic is under control and to resume spending money on non-essential items.”