Consultant Q&A

Lloyd

With 25 years of retail experience across development, brokerage and planning, Lloyd consults to the shopping center industry, working with retailers, restaurants, movie theaters and other entertainment venues to help formulate and implement their real estate strategies. Examples include 50 East Shoes, Tucanos Grill, Mohegan Sun, and various other retail/restaurant/entertainment operators. Previously he was VP of Anchor Leasing at the Mills Corporation, in strategy at Borders and held various other roles.

Having founded HMS Retail, you have the unique perspective of being a veteran in retail real estate consulting across retailers, restaurants, movie theaters and other entertainment venues nationwide. What do you think is the future of the American mall? What of "high street retail"? To what extent do you feel the Amazonification of retail will alter the physical space expectations of retail?

In today’s environment, plain old shopping malls are not attracting the customers that they used to, in large part, thanks to online retailing. There is no doubt that there are too many shopping malls in the USA. A fair share of them will be repurposed/redeveloped because the real estate remains strong. The better malls will continually need to upgrade and expand their offerings to attract customers. Those that remain need to recognize that people are social creatures and still like to get out and do things. They may not necessarily feel the need to shop in every store in a mall, but there are some items that are tougher to buy online, and malls that offer new and different dining and entertainment options will continue to be popular. High Street retail also needs to constantly upgrade their offerings and mix in better restaurants, bars and entertainment venues. Retailers have to be very cognizant of their physical footprint in today’s challenging retail environment. Maximizing sales per square foot will become even more important as retailers call ill afford to have wasted space in their stores.

Are your clients typically developers or tenants? Which of the two do you think face the biggest challenges today?

My clients are typically retailers/restaurants/entertainment operators and I coordinate their national real estate strategy. I also work with developers on leasing initiatives and tenant mix. I think both developers and retailers face challenges. Developers have to devise ways to make their projects continually relevant and attract the optimal collection of tenants. Retailers have to stay on top of their merchandising, store design, customer service and product assortment in order to continually attract a customer base that has many options.

As VP of Anchor Leasing at The Mills Corporation you developed the concept of shoppertainment. Tell us about how it was developed, and what lessons can be learned from that evolution today.

At the Mills Corporation within the Anchor Division one of the many tasks we were charged with was to bring in large format, in excess of 15,000 square feet, one-of-a-kind, first to market, never done before, retail, restaurant and entertainment concepts. Aside from the great selection of retailers that offered a wide selection of goods at favorable pricing that were the hallmark of each Mills project, the shoppertainment aspect set the Mills apart from regular regional malls. Just as the Mills Corporation understood back then, today it’s equally important to bring fresh, experiential concepts to shopping center projects to attract customers who are looking for more than just a place to shop.

Why did you decide to join StealthForce? What resonated with you?

As a small, boutique business owner with a highly specialized skill set I am always looking to build my brand and offer our company’s services to those in the retail/restaurant/entertainment industry. StealthForce offers an interesting platform to match consultants with clients in the real estate industry. The focus on real estate and the quality of both the consultants and clients makes joining StealthForce of particular interest to HMS Retail.

Tell us about an interesting or rewarding recent client engagement.

I took on an assignment 15 months ago to find locations nationally for a star branded restaurant with a live music venue. We didn’t have a unit open and wouldn’t for well over a year. The concept was initially met with great skepticism as another operator had done something similar and was unsuccessful. On top of that, we were driving a very aggressive economic deal. I am pleased to say that our first venue recently opened to great reviews and we have over a dozen units in the pipeline for the next 2 years.