Experiential Retail Lands in Downtown Manhattan


This year in retail the conversation about the lack of retail traffic has taken center stage. While we have noted a few stores that make a compelling story to visit their stores for the experience as well as shopping many are still lagging behind.

In recent weeks, Downtown Manhattan has been receiving a bit more buzz. There has been the opening of The Westfield World Trade Center Mall and SAKS opening its doors in The Brookfield Mall. (Brookfield Place is a more upscale approach with many luxury stores.) Both areas, have brought a mix of retailers and entertainment in order to drive traffic.

Westfield Mall is located just across the street from Brookfield Place and is connected through an underground walking tunnel. The new Westfield is expected to drive traffic due to the Fulton train station, which is found in the center of the $4 billion, 350,000-square-foot retail site.

In our recent visit to Brookfield Place we noticed the traditional mix of brands and retailers, but also a gym, a food hall for dining, themed entertainment and a small art exhibit.

At Westfield, more stores are still to open their doors, but we noticed a uniform and consistent theme that felt modern. A few of the stores feature large digital screens and open formats, while almost every store front had a message that included the word FUTURE.

Across both malls it was visible that not only did they have an attractive mix of brands, but also each included places for entertainment that would draw crowds to their doors. We continue to believe that it is important to create a fun shopping experience for consumers and these malls are examples of what we may see more of in the future. Each retailer, however, is responsible for having a product mix that is compelling to the consumer.

As this area of Manhattan gains popularity not only from tourists, but from locals who live and work in the area, we may see some stores like SAKS, benefit from younger affluent consumers as.

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