Drew Alexander, president and CEO of Weingarten Realty Investors (NYSE: WRI), joined REIT.com for a video interview at REITWeek 2017: NAREIT’s Investor Forum at the New York Hilton Midtown.
Weingarten owns and operates neighborhood and community shopping centers in major metropolitan markets. Alexander noted that the company started a major transformation effort several years ago, selling almost $2 billion of properties. Weingarten subsequently focused on its core markets in the Southern and Western United States.
Alexander stressed that Weingarten has always had a basic supermarket and goods and services portfolio. Supermarkets in the Weingarten portfolio average about $630 in sales per square foot, which is “very strong” and helps bring foot traffic to the center, according to Alexander.
Meanwhile, Alexander commented that in the evolving retail landscape, “the winner at the end of the day is the omnichannel model – it makes good real estate even more valuable.”
Notably, most of what Weingarten’s tenants sell doesn’t have a sufficient profit margin for free last-mile delivery, according to Alexander. “The click-and-collect model, the convergence of clicks and bricks, is what I think wins,” he noted.