Some major mall landlords are scaling back their presence at New York City’s big retail expo next month, another indicator of challenges facing the sector.
Simon Property Group, the country’s largest mall-centric real estate investment trust, will not exhibit at this year’s International Council of Shopping Centers’ deal-making summit at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, a spokesperson for ICSC confirmed to The Real Deal. And Taubman Centers, which is the fourth-largest mall REIT by market capitalization, will keep its exhibition space at the center, but will hold most of its meetings at its New York offices, a company spokesperson confirmed.
Sources said that GGP also plans to scale back its presence, though the details couldn’t be confirmed. A GGP spokesperson did not respond to requests for comment.
“Simon recently notified us that they would not be participating in this year’s event. They did not provide a specific reason why,” ICSC spokesperson Stephanie Cegielski wrote in an email. “While we are sad that Simon will not be part of the event, we are on track for record attendance and a great event.”
Cegielski added that Simon’s decision has not adversely affected attendance for the show, which is currently 10 percent higher than it was at this point last year. But decisions by some of the country’s largest mall landlords to snub the show – the second-biggest retail event in the country outside of ICSC’s annual spring expo in Las Vegas – certainly represents a shot to the confidence of the struggling retail market.
“I think it’s indicative of the climate out there where everyone is doing what they can for savings,” said Capricorn Asset Management’s Jason Richter, last year’s chairman of the New York expo. “It’s by no means indicative of ICSC losing stature or of being less effective.”
A spokesperson for Taubman said the company will continue to use its regular meeting space at the Javits Center, but “felt it would be more efficient to do the bulk of our December meetings at Taubman’s New York City office.”
This year’s ICSC co-chair, Stan Glantz of Katz Properties, declined to comment on the mall REITs’ plans, but said this year’s show is expected to be larger than last year’s.
“We’ve moved up to the top level [of the convention center] and we’ve expanded our footprint from 175,000 square feet to more than 220,000,” Glantz said. “We’re ahead of last year’s attendance, from what I’ve heard in recent days.”