What Are Your RECon Expectations?

That time of year is coming upon us again. Next month is RECon, the International Council of Shopping Centers annual convention – the biggest event in the retail real estate world.

But we have a feeling, like conventions across the country, attendance won’t be as big as years past, like 2007, when attendance hit 50,000. Michael Kercheval, ICSC’s president, said a at a conference in Florida yesterday that pre-registered attendance so far this year is not that much lower than in 2008.

A look at ICSC’s attendee list on its Website shows that just under 18,800 have signed up, and we are still over a month away. With all of the deals offered at the event and airline ticket prices plummeting that number could surely pick up steam.

However we’ve heard that some companies are cutting back on the amount of staff they’re sending this year, and two big owners, namely Simon Property Group and Westfield aren’t going to be in the leasing mall, and as of now, aren’t shown on ICSC’s real-time floor plan. But Kercheval contended yesterday that there is still a waiting list to exhibit in the leasing mall.

What are your expectations this year? Are you not making it because of cost cutbacks or is it essential to attend this important event no matter what state of the economy?

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33 Responses to “What Are Your RECon Expectations?”


  1. 1 kin powell April 2, 2009 at 9:05 am

    I won’t attend, first time since i joined ICSCin ’85. The tennants i favor aren’t diong anything fo the foreseeable future. The industry needs to loose half its participants & the distribution channels will be vastly different in the ’20s.

  2. 2 John Fox April 2, 2009 at 9:06 am

    I have heard other numbers but am glad to see the ICSC is encouraged. I will be attending, I am hoping to focus and hone in on opportunities because the people that are there are going to be under a lot of pressure to do business.

  3. 3 L Biggie April 2, 2009 at 9:35 am

    I respect that Simon pulled out of the show to save money, what I don’t respect is their renting out a suite at a hotel to have their own meetings and further decimate retailer attendance for the rest of us. The big firms with their big booths have ruined this show because nobody can make a 30 minute meeting when it takes 15-20 minutes to get to your next appointment. What Simon is doing adds further insult to that injury by pulling retailers completely out of the convention.

  4. 4 Paul Kesman April 2, 2009 at 10:46 am

    John, I agree with you. I think for those that are there, the show will be more productive as they will be there with a purpose. Plus, it will be a lot easier for them to get around. 🙂

  5. 5 JC April 2, 2009 at 11:36 am

    While I appreciate the fact that ICSC has been able to put pressure on the hotels to redcue the room rates, it would be nice to see ICSC join in the cost saving craze. They should discount the admissions to the RE-CON, which woudl encourage people to attend. I hear a lot of people will fly to Las Vegas and attend the parties (if there are any) and schedule appointments outside of the convention hall, but are hesitating to spend the $400 for a 2 1/2 day conference with only 18,000 attendees.

  6. 6 james April 2, 2009 at 12:04 pm

    I won’t be going this year for the first time in many years and its mostly because I despise Las Vegas, in a down year with little new on the horizon I don’t look forward to putting up with the atmosphere, its like living inside a cash register. I am sure I am in the minority but I would welcome a change in venue. Apparently Simon and others may feel the same way, preferring to ensconce themselves in their hotel and let the show come to them. I can skip the whole thing this time around.

  7. 7 BigDeal April 2, 2009 at 3:14 pm

    The Central Hall was dead last year with 50K attendees, this year with 18K will be a ghost town. At least the Starbuck’s lines will be shorter!

  8. 8 david April 2, 2009 at 3:30 pm

    I will be attending. I think it is a very important part of our business. The networking, meeting face to face with people you have only spoken to on the phone.

    Once a year to kick back and do business in a place where you can also have some fun.

    Not much we can do from a macro perspective on the economy but I always come back with good ideas, new relationships and reestablishing old ones

  9. 9 GaryL April 2, 2009 at 5:03 pm

    I understand a lot of the tenants who are not mall oriented will still be going, discount clothing, auto parts and others who favor strip centers. My question is why would I want to spend all that money to have these tenants beat me up on rents and lease concessions when that can happen by email or phone.

  10. 10 SimonGarbo April 2, 2009 at 11:40 pm

    So Simon wants to imitate Greta Garbo: “I Want to Be Alone.”
    Be careful what you wish for, David Simon.

    Arrogant Simon, they’ve never had much industry Esprit de Corp. Typical.

  11. 11 TheThreeMusketeers April 2, 2009 at 11:46 pm

    Oh, come on now, you know as well as anyone that Simon’s motto is “One for all, and all …. for me.” Just like Groucho Marx said, not Garbo.

  12. 12 Karen April 3, 2009 at 7:28 am

    I will be attending also. The reality is that if you are a serious player in our industry, then good times and bad, you need to keep in there playing. If the playing field is reduced, so much the better for me as people will have more time to chat and network. Plus the sessions are always great and this year I might actually get to sit in a couple for the entire time.

    Also I heard that Simon’s reason for leaving the exhibition hall was not related to cost or “I vant to be alone”, but rather to internal discussions thay have had for awhile with ICSC that apparently are not resolved. Always two sides to every story.

  13. 13 Year off April 3, 2009 at 8:51 am

    I’ve been faithfully attending this show since 1990, but not this year. Like James I hate Vegas, the man made land of make believe and I have been looking for a reason to take a year off.

    On another note, I for one don’t chastise Simon for there decision to relocate. In my humble opinion the ICSC (like the government) has forgotten that they are an organization built by their members to serve their members not the other way around. (FYI, I am not a Simon employee or tenant).

    I am looking forward to a productive, peaceful week.

  14. 14 Retail Lou April 3, 2009 at 9:11 am

    I will be attending this year. How can I not ? even if 1 extra meeting, 1 extra “bump into”, 1 extra lead comes of it, it will be worth it. Plus, I love being up at 5 am to run up and down the strip before it gets busy !

  15. 15 Weed Removal April 3, 2009 at 11:45 am

    I’ll be there, and I’ll bring my cynical expectations of bs-suited booth-royalty waxing philosophic directly in front of their $8,000 space, backs to the aisles, in bunches, blocking visibility and access like the under-motivated outparcels that they have always been. Just a few less of them.

  16. 16 Dunkin'man April 3, 2009 at 12:42 pm

    Torn between spending cash and the networking. I’m a “B” shop guy who doesn’t have that many deal making meetings this year, as I’m not developing ANYTHING right now.

    I would, like Karen, like to attend some of the sessions.

    Any Love from ICSC, read (discounts) would be appreciated

  17. 17 NoStreetLeft April 3, 2009 at 12:52 pm

    Note that one entire gorup — conduit lenders and other capital providers — likely will be non-existent at ICSC this year.

  18. 18 Darrell April 3, 2009 at 1:36 pm

    I heard that Simon was imitating a little birdie: “Cheap, Cheap, Cheap.”

  19. 19 RealUp April 3, 2009 at 1:50 pm

    Our company is going to launch at RECon, so we are excited to have more time to explain our services to the people who can attend. For everyone who is coming, please visit me at booth 2046!

    Carol

  20. 20 Uncle Jim April 3, 2009 at 5:45 pm

    Have been to every meeting since 1986 and will attend this year. I suspect it will mostly be networking and, for some, a huge job fair. Since our business is centered around downsizing companies the conference should be rife with opportunities.

    BTW I find it hard to believe only 18,000 were signed up this time last year. But if you recall the pullback started last year with a number of retailers not sending anyone and others just a skeleton crew.

    With regard to Simon and Westfield, if not committing to spend upwards of $1,000,000 for the show is cheap, then so be it. Those who don’t pay for the booths apparently don’t have a clue how expensive they are.

  21. 21 Match.com April 4, 2009 at 2:34 am

    I’m going this year to meet up with a Thousand of my closest friends. Why? Because I gotta!!!!!!

  22. 22 I Gotta Go April 4, 2009 at 2:35 am

    I’m showing up to get to see 1,000 of My Closest Friends! Why? Because I Gotta!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  23. 23 michael April 4, 2009 at 8:30 pm

    not going for the first time in 35 years. won’t miss Vegas at all!!!

  24. 24 Alan Barocas April 6, 2009 at 7:42 am

    the relevancy of the upcoming RECON in Vegas is at a tipping point. Now I am not saying that there is no value to the conference since I strongly believe that the networking potential of this conference is the core benefit to all attendees regardless of how long they have been in the business. we can all acknowledge that networking is the life blood of our industry.
    The tipping point i referenced is the impact that a cutback in participation by the Landlord, Developer and Retailer will have on this years convention as well as future conventions. Most are participating with a much smaller staff while others like Simon and Westfield decided to set up their sessions in nearby hotel suites rather than their usual positions at the convention centers. Some retailers have even decided not to attend which is something that would have been unheard of in the past.the majority of the attendees have cut back in one form or another.
    Should the experience of the attendees be percieved as efficient and cost effective, then what will the impact be on next year’s conference. Are these cutbacks just a reflection of the economic environment and when times get better we will go back to pre 2009 participation? Will the reduction in participants, change of venue, attendance create a new business model to be duplicated in the coming years.

    Stay Tuned

  25. 25 josh April 6, 2009 at 9:56 am

    This will be my 39th ICSC Convention. Obviously, a few of those were held during difficult times. The Convention, for us, has always been worthwhile. It is merely measured in degrees of “good.” One more contact, one more deal, one more new learning experience will benefit us. I do think that Simon and Westfield should be in the Leasing Mall. I even miss Taubman!

  26. 26 Tim April 6, 2009 at 10:38 am

    I’ve been going to Convention since 1985. I’ll be there again this year. Attendence will be way down but that too can create opportunities. Frankly, I think ICSC and Vegas are getting what they deserve. They have priced themselves out of the market. ICSC blames GES for egregious cost increases with the booth. GES blames the Teamsters. I don’t blame Simon and Westfield as something had to be done. ISCS and those associated with the Convention will be more humble next year or they will pay dearly in the future.

  27. 27 What'sNewAboutThat April 6, 2009 at 1:15 pm

    Simon has maintained an offsite hotel meeting suite for years.

  28. 28 Broker April 7, 2009 at 8:57 am

    I wouldn’t miss the ICSC Memorial Service for anything!

  29. 29 Dealmaker April 7, 2009 at 9:05 am

    I’ll be in Vegas this year out of default. The booth (like many) was reserved last year. Have you ever tried to get out of that committment? The convention…like our industry bubbled over the past few years and became difficult at best given the size. As Alan states above…”the relevancy is at a tipping point” we’re in a boom to bust cycle and 2 of the major “anchor developer draws” controlling a considerable percentage of desirable properties to this function are snubbing the rest of us and venturing out on their own. Hey…it would be a lot cheaper for my comany if I went over to the SIMON Hotel and scheduled meetings in the lobby for a few days.

    What’s more important is many of our colleagues have been left out on their own due to the job losses in the industry we’ve all seen (and continue to see) lately. Many of these fine folks and truly wonderful people…ask…where is ICSC when I need it most? Only ICSC can answer that.

    Honestly….with this type of non participation from the industry’s leaders…and the lack of up to date resources for displaced professionals…”the relevancy of the entire organization is at a tipping point”….Or is it beyond it already??

  30. 30 Alison April 27, 2009 at 2:45 pm

    If anyone needs a reasonably priced tradeshow exhibits last minute please let us help with your display needs!

  31. 31 Steve May 8, 2009 at 11:27 am

    I won’t be going this year. As I celebrate my 14th month of unemployment after being laid off from a shopping center developer there really is no reason to go to ICSC. There are no jobs to be had, and no one is building or remodeling their properties.

    Existing malls are being left to suffer while developers sit back and take stock of what the industry is going through. Redevelopments are on hold, new projects are shelved, even the “put lipstick on the pig” projects (painting, landscaping, signage packages, etc.) are not happening because of the uncertainty of the economy.

    As of today I know only four people still employed in our industry. The rest are getting unemployment checks, looking for ANY work available – outside our industry – and simply trying to survive one day at a time.

    Sorry ICSC, you haven’t helped those displaced by the mass layoffs, and continued forward for quite some time acting like everything was “OK” in the world. You only acted out of desperation cutting travel and hotel costs when you realized no one could afford to go, and the reasons to go are now gone.

    If you were on “Celebrity Apprentice”, Trump would have fired you long ago.

  32. 32 MeToo@hotmail.com May 8, 2009 at 11:55 am

    Steve: You are SPOT ON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    This industry and the leaders in this industry have sold the worker bees down the river year after year, I wish I had never stayed hopeful in such a disloyal industry.

  33. 33 SporadicCareer@hotmail.com May 8, 2009 at 12:45 pm

    Baby Boom executives and middle managers in retail real estate have callously served their own self interests for the last twenty years in this business with layoff after layoff in endless waves. Most 40 to 50 year olds have been squeezed out of the industry time and time again, it is this generation of workers who have had to perform in retail in extreme circumstances, doing the job of three or four people, overcome obstacles, to only, in the end, to be rewarded with a big fat pink slip, scrambling in a job market for another similiar position with another flailing retailer. So what are the options? Jumping the fence to the Landlord side has only resulted in more insecurity as developers who previously offered secure employment are now also on the bandwagon of publicly traded companies, subject to the vicissitudes of the stock market and short term emphasis mentalities.


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