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Summer 2010 Trends Trackers

The recession has forced retailers and mall developers to develop innovative business strategies. Quite a few malls around the country are trying creative leasing ideas—including launching a karate studio and even a library extension at the mall. Even as the mall expands its role to community builder, there are some concepts that have stood the test of time: customers still want a good product at a good price. Equally important, while shopping habits might have changed, consumers are seeking products that fulfill particular niches.

Here’s a rundown of a few trends in specialty retail.

Green is Golden

Green retail has stood up to the recession as consumers invested in their health and that of the environment are buying green in record numbers. According to the Organic Trade Association, an association for the organic industry in North America, U.S. sales of organic products continued to grow despite the recession, reaching $26.6 billion in 2009.

There’s an opportunity here for you to attract this growing segment of consumers with products that are organic, natural or fairly traded. Make sure you boldly advertise this marketing message on your cart or kiosk. Make it an integral part of marketing materials as well.

Lipstick Love

It’s called the lipstick effect. The theory is that consumers are more willing to buy less expensive luxury goods in an economic crisis. So instead of entire wardrobes, accessories will be in. Offer consumers luxury for less. Customers will appreciate the opportunity to create a spa at home with just a couple of products for pampering. Accessories (hair, nails, and shoes) are in, so are luxury soaps and smaller (yet luxurious) indulgences. Services such as eyebrow threading at the mall are also in.

Stress-Free Stations

Consumers are looking for small “getaways”—mini vacations that decrease stress on lower budgets. A trip to the mall for a massage is an effective way to de-stress from working long hours. Services such as massages or small pampering indulgences such as eyebrow threading (where customers can feel good about themselves) are in. Look for stores selling tea or yoga gear as well.

Fame Finders

With the social media explosion, it’s easier than ever for consumers to have their own 15 minutes of fame. The widespread use of cell phones for videos, and the popularity of reality television combined with that of contest-based television shows can be translated to malls with a little imagination. Welcome leasing opportunities around the theme of fame. Consider talent agencies, photography or “star-in-your-own movie” concepts.

Patricia Norins

Norins is the founder and publisher of two national trade magazines and two trade shows. Specialty Retail Report, the voice of the specialty retail industry (carts, kiosks and temporary in-line stores) has a readership of more than 75,000 and GIFT SHOP, the magazine for independent gift shop owners, has a readership of more than 60,000. She also serves as consultant to small independent retailers across the country.

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