Courting millennials

Boston, Columbus and Dallas are getting hip to young shoppers
By Tom Acitelli | May 12, 2016 10:30AM

Assembly Row in Somerville, Mass. is targeting newcomers with retail in the mix, including J. Crew. (Inset: J. Crew CEO Mickey Drexler)

From the National Market Report: The direct spending power of the nation’s roughly 80 million millennials is expected to reach $200 billion next year, according to a widely cited report from advertising agency Barkley. And retail developers are seizing the opportunity to try to draw millennials into urban mixed-use projects.

Yet the Great Recession, student debt and the steep cost of housing in cities with high numbers of millennials mean less pocket money. Gen Y types and those younger spend what is left over carefully, using the technology they grew up with to sniff out deals through comparison shopping, online reviews and social-media shares, said Tom McGee, the CEO of the International Council of Shopping Centers. “This is a generation that’s become accustomed to immediate access and feedback,” he said, adding that despite having grown up around so much technology, millennials “put just as much of a premium on shopping in a physical environment as the baby boomers do.” [more]