We are a nation of mall rats, according to “What in the World Is Causing the Retail Meltdown of 2017?” (Atlantic)
By one measure of consumerist plentitude—shopping center “gross leasable area”—the U.S. has 40 percent more shopping space per capita than Canada, five times more the the UK, and ten times more than Germany.
Now it is clear why our Ft. Lauderdale rental condo (more than $4,000 per week) contained a $20 set of Farberware knives:
In 2016, for the first time ever, Americans spent more money in restaurants and bars than at grocery stores.
Maybe don’t buy that commercial REIT right now…
Once autonomous vehicles are cheap, safe, and plentiful, retail and logistics companies could buy up millions, seeing that cars can be stores and streets are the ultimate real estate. In fact, self-driving cars could make shopping space nearly obsolete in some areas. CVS could have hundreds of self-driving minivans stocked with merchandise roving the suburbs all day and night, ready to be summoned to somebody’s home by smartphone. A new luxury-watch brand in 2025 might not spring for an Upper East Side storefront, but maybe its autonomous showroom vehicle could circle the neighborhood, waiting to be summoned to the doorstep of a tony apartment building. Autonomous retail will create new conveniences, and traffic headaches, require new regulations and inspire new business strategies that could take even more businesses out of commercial real estate.
Readers: What do you think? For every current robocall will there be a visit to our driveway tomorrow by a robovan? The doors will open and a loudspeaker on the roof will say “Dear Homeowner: please come out and look at the solar panels you could add to your roof”?