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Rebirth: The Economy and Retail Real Estate After the Global Health Crisis

May 21, 2020

The discussion included Marcus & Millichap’s President and Chief Executive Officer Hessam Nadji; Scott Holmes, Senior Vice President, National Director, Retail, Marcus & Millichap; and CRE industry leaders Kimco Realty Corp.’s Conor Flynn; DLC Management Corp.’s Chris Ressa; and VEREIT, Inc.’s Brett Sheets.

Panelists were optimistic about the future of retail post-pandemic. “We need cheerleaders for retail,” Kimco’s Flynn said. “There’s lots of naysayers out there. We need to make sure to recognize that retail is not dead. It is going to be totally reinvented again.” Though he pointed out the challenges facing the industry, which they already had been monitoring, are likely to be around for the “long haul,” even as the pandemic accelerated them.

To that point, Nadji said, “Don’t bet against the United States.” He expects a “rebirth for retail after the current crisis plays out.”

To be sure, retail has always been about adaptation and innovation, and he noted the economy and industry was in a very healthy “liquid” position going into this COVID19 pandemic. “We are experiencing an incredible amount of pent-up demand,” Nadji notes now, though the building blocks of recovery depend on mitigating a second wave of the infections. The retail sector’s supply and demand were in balance, and as Nadji pointed out, the fallout from the health crisis could diminish the supply, which could be considered as a positive factor for a retail industry many considered over-supplied before. That should give the market a chance to reinvent and reposition, Nadji said.

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