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Philippe Lanier on Georgetown Retail

Philippe Lanier, Principal Vice President at EastBanc, shared his views with Commercial Observer on how the coronavirus pandemic is impacting Georgetown retail.

The majority landowner of Cady’s Alley and other DC retail, Georgetown-based EastBanc, during its 25-year history, has focused on revitalizing the urban street-scape with innovations including flexible leases, and pop-ups.

Lanier commented on what Georgetown tenants are going through in the wake of the shutdown orders, and the challenges moving forward:

By and large at the moment, markets are all the same, and what’s going to differentiate them is how they look in nine to 12 months. Everyone is dealing with a mess. If you talk to retailers, and I’ve talked to maybe 85 percent of all our tenants, it’s interesting because there’s not much differentiation between a startup or a local mom and pop versus a national brand or international brand. The larger brands are facing more sophisticated challenges because they have to deal with all the different pieces of their logistical chain that has fallen apart and lots of counterparty agreements.”

“It starts with technology disruption and the way it’s been disrupting retail for the last decade. Technology is constantly providing the customer with easier access to information and more immediate access. Most customers were much more informed about the product inside a store before ever walking through a door. Most customers were much more informed about the product inside a store before ever walking through a door. When you walk yourself through a journey of a shopper — walking down the street, noticing something in a window, getting excited about it, discovering something and walking out with a bag and a smile — more and more that wasn’t happening. If you don’t convince someone to walk into a store and discover something new, you miss the opportunity to make a sale."

"When we come out of this, you’re not going to have the same amount of options as a consumer that you used to have. There are not going to be brands going out there trying to produce everything they possibly can. They are going to reduce their merchandise mix and the amount they are creating because they just don’t know how to assess demand. There may be some brands that just don’t reopen. And there is the very likelihood that you have a completely different pattern of disposable income and purchasing power.”


Red the full Q&A here.