Holiday Shopping Season Starting Earlier, Cedar Realty CEO Says

11/25/2014 | By Allen Kenney

Bruce Schanzer

Bruce Schanzer, president and CEO of retail REIT Cedar Realty Trust (NYSE: CDR), previewed the holiday shopping season on the latest edition of the NAREIT Podcast.

Schanzer said his company is forecasting a "modest" year-over-year increase in holiday spending of approximately 3 percent. He added that Cedar Realty expects consumers to remain price-sensitive this year.

"We would expect shoppers to continue to seek value and price shop different retailers for the most affordable price for a particular item," Schanzer said.

Cedar Realty's portfolio has a high concentration of value-oriented retailers. "We think that they will continue to do well in this economic environment during the holiday season," he said.

Turning specifically on "Black Friday," the de facto start to the holiday shopping season, Schanzer noted that online retailers have started to ramp up their holiday promotions ahead of the usual Thanksgiving schedule. However, given his company's focus on grocery-anchored shopping centers, Schanzer said Cedar Realty properties tend to see traffic spikes ahead of Thanksgiving as shoppers start to prepare their holiday meals.

One factor that has changed the holiday shopping experience is the growth mobile devices and smartphones. A growing number of shoppers are utilizing omnichannel shopping opportunities, according to Schanzer, which is now "pervasive" throughout the retail industry.

"A great example is how we see retailers who encourage in-store pickup for sales that are purchased online as a way to drive traffic and, usually, additional sales at their stores," Schanzer said.

Online shopping is projected to see double-digit growth from 2013, according to Schanzer. However, most of Cedar Realty's tenants will feel limited impact from e-commerce's growth, he said.

"Many of the retailers in our centers offer in-store promotions as a way to drive traffic to the brick-and-mortar stores," Schanzer said.

(CLICK HERE to download the latest edition of the NAREIT Podcast. You can also subscribe to the podcast via iTunes.)