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Retail Law Advisor

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This blog keeps you connected to timely developments and emerging issues in retail law and covers a wide range of topics related to the retail, restaurant and consumer industry. We invite you to learn more about Goulston & Storrs and our Retail, Restaurant & Consumer Group.

The Nightmare Before Christmas?

Gift Card Litigation Arrives for the Holidays
It is a little-known fact that, in 1994, Blockbuster video was the first store to display pre-paid gift cards for sale. Unlike VHS rentals, the gift card industry has only grown in popularity. Gift cards from major retailers are at the top of many holiday wish lists. Considered a...
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Unconscious Bias in the Retail World

Last week, in our highlights of the 49 th ICSC U.S. Law Conference , we touched on Dr. Mahzarin R. Banaji ’s keynote presentation, where she discussed unconscious bias and how it affects everyone. She has also co-authored a book entitled Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People discussing these...
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2019 ICSC Law Conference Recap

Last week, over 1,500 members of the retail law industry came together at this year’s 49 th International Council of Shopping Center (ICSC) U.S. Law Conference that was held in San Diego from October 23 through October 25, 2019. Those in attendance ranged from counsel from outside law firms...
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Go Mega-Mall or Go Home?

New Jersey’s American Dream “Immersive Consumption” Mall Opening after 23 Years
While increased occurrences of retail store closures and predictions about the death of the shopping mall are causing mall owners to consider downsizing or repurposing their space away from consumer-facing retail and toward e-commerce fulfillment centers or industrial uses, the developers behind New Jersey’s American Dream Mall, a three...
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Retail-to-Industrial Conversions: Revolution or Niche Trend?

It may have been unthinkable ten to fifteen years ago, but the shift in consumer shopping patterns from brick-and-mortar stores to online platforms has resulted in the emergence of retail-to-industrial conversions over the past few years.  With lower demand for retail space in many markets, several developers and major...
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“Retail Apocalypse: The End – Or A New Beginning?”

The last several years have been treacherous for the retail sector.  Changing shopping patterns and shifting demographics have led some commentators to declare that the (retail) apocalypse is upon us .  And while we have seen numerous mega-bankruptcies, including Sears, Toys ‘R Us, Borders, Payless Shoes and Radio Shack...
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The Game of Malls. What Is Dead May Never Die.

It’s no secret that consumers have been shifting away from shopping at traditional brick-and-mortar stores in favor of shopping online.  Nor that the shift in consumers’ shopping habits has resulted in a wave of store closures in malls throughout the U.S. over the last several years.  The trend has...
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What’s Old is New Again: Department Stores Partner with Online-Only Secondhand Apparel Companies

Apparel merchandisers are predicting that resale will soon become a force in the industry and retailers are beginning to take notice. Increasingly, young shoppers are turning to online, resale and rental for their clothing needs and department stores are currently experimenting with offering secondhand apparel as a way to...
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REIT Issues for Retail Leasing Professionals

As retail leasing continues to evolve, real estate investment trust (REIT) landlords, retail tenants and the business / advisory teams on both sides will want to ensure that REIT issues are surfaced and negotiated before the lease is signed, averting unpleasant surprises and renegotiations down the road. With proper...
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Are U.S. retailers keeping your data safe?

Sharing limited personal information with retailers has its benefits, including targeted ads, discounts, incentives, and coupons.  But at what cost?  Do the risks of disclosing your personal information to retailers outweigh the benefits to which time-sensitive consumers have grown accustomed?  Many retail consumers no longer have personal connections to...
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Black Friday in July: A Retail Boost in Competition with Amazon

Is “Christmas in July” a bonus for consumers or retailers? Which retailers are coming to the front of the price slashing competition and what products are hot off the shelves? According to retail experts, Amazon raked in an estimated $6 billion in sales during this year’s Amazon Prime Day...
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All Eyes on G-20 as Additional Tariffs Loom

Last week, Bloomberg reported that Toys “R” Us is in the early stages of a comeback, led by former executive and Tru Kids Inc. CEO Richard Barry, with designs on opening about a half-dozen stores in time for the 2019 holiday season. You can bet they’ll be keeping a...
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We’re Here for the Food Hall Party

Time to Eat, Drink and Socialize!
If you haven’t eaten at a food hall yet… it is likely only a matter of time before you do. They are popping up all over the country and are gaining popularity. Unlike traditional mall food courts, food halls typically include higher end and trendy concepts all within one...
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E-Commerce and Industrial Real Estate: “Last Mile” Delivery and What Else You Should Know

In recent years, the extensive disruption to the retail real estate landscape caused by the expansive growth of e-commerce (such as altered consumer shopping habits, increased brick-and-mortar vacancies, and big box retailer bankruptcies) has been well-cataloged and analyzed both within the commercial real estate industry and, more broadly, by...
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A Hometown Affair: Boston Hosts INTA 2019 Annual Meeting

Last week, members of the Goulston & Storrs intellectual property practice group joined over 11,000 attendees from around the world for the 141 st Annual Meeting of the International Trademark Association (INTA).  For us it was a hometown affair, with Boston hosting a diverse group of brand owners, legal...
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ICSC RECON 2019: In Pursuit of Innovation

The Las Vegas Convention Center hosted ICSC RECon 2019 this week from May 19-22. This year’s conference was held under the motto “Less traditional. More Innovative”, reflective of the dynamic changes taking place in the retail real estate industry. True to this motto, the future of retail was on...
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When the Retail Anchor Becomes the Risk… or Opportunity?

Big box stores have recently been large contributors to the “retail apocalypse” facing owners of shopping centers with broad swaths of empty space. Some landlords are discovering that they need to take a more active role at the helm of their centers and find new ways to attract customers...
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Four Ways for Leases to Keep Up with Innovative Retail

Industry experts seem to agree that while traditional retailers may be on the decline, innovative stores that focus on “experiential retail” -- interesting, memorable, interactive, multi-sensory shopping experiences -- will continue to thrive.  To keep up with developments in the retail sector, landlords and tenants should consider modifying their...
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Bag Bans: The War on Plastic Bags

Grocery shoppers used to make the final decision of their supermarket trip in the checkout line. Reaching for boxes of cereal, cartons of eggs, and jars of jam in their rolling metal carts, placing those items onto slow-moving counter conveyor belts, they weighed two options. Paper or plastic? Which...
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‘Tis Always the Season for a Pop-up

With Tax Day just around the corner, there is a good chance that you find yourself (along with millions  of other Americans) scrambling to get your taxes filed at the last minute. You also might notice the temporary tax service shops that seem to pop up at the local...
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Intrusion or Tool: Consumer Data’s Increasing Role in Retail

It’s no secret that retailers have access to more information about their target consumers than ever before. This information can help retailers not only to target their broad market but also to tailor the communications they deliver to each segment of that market.  Customers, on the other hand, are...
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Opportunity Zones Steal the Show

ICSC's 2019 Mid-Atlantic Conference and Deal Making
The Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center played host to the ICSC's 2019 Mid-Atlantic Conference and Deal Making event last week. After being snowed out last year, the conference rebounded with high attendance and spectacular views of the Potomac River. The overall mood of attendees was surprisingly upbeat given the...
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Technology Shifts the Retail Landscape for Open Air Centers

ICSC's OAC Summit 2019
I just returned from ICSC's OAC Summit, which was held in Austin last week.  For those how have not yet attended this conference, the OAC is not a deal making conference like many other ICSC conferences.  Rather, the OAC is a relationship building and information sharing event, attended largely by...
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New Payment Structures for a New Age

We’ve written about changes in the way goods are bought and sold, from brick-and-mortar to e-commerce. But what about how goods are being paid for? As the retail landscape shifts to digital terrain, retailers would be wise to think about how they accept payments to suit new ways of...
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Recycling the Big Box

Retailers shuttered a record amount of brick-and-mortar store space in 2018, shattering the previous record set in 2017, and big box stores were the largest contributors to the empty space. Iconic brands, such as Sears, Macy’s, J.C. Penney, Toys "R" Us, Inc., Bon Ton and Lord & Taylor all...
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Second Chances – Embattled Retailers Look to the Next Chapter for Their Brands

What’s old is new again. The intellectual property of legacy brick-and-mortar retailers is increasingly being repurposed for decidedly modern ventures. Although the fate of Toys "R" Us, Inc. has captured the most media attention, a number of prominent retailers have begun to repurpose and revitalize their brands in a...
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2018 Holiday Sales

We hope everyone had a terrific holiday season and the new year is off to a great start! In our first post for the year, we wanted to share some terrific insights on 2018 holiday sales analytics from Retail Dive’s Kaarin Vembar . U.S. holiday sales grew 5.1% this...
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