What Do You Expect From ICSC’s RECon This Year?

ICSC’s RECon show in Las Vegas, the biggest retail real estate event of the year, is nearly upon us with the convention starting in just over a week.

A lot has changed this year. There will be no leasing mall in the Las Vegas Convention Center’s North Hall, no events in the Las Vegas Hilton, and the show is shortened by one day (ending on Tuesday), making the three-day affair an event packed with educational sessions and other happenings.

It’s pretty obvious why the changes took place. Attendance was down sharply last year, due to a still-suffering economy. And Wednesdays could often feel pretty dead, even when the convention had more attendees.

What do you think about the changes and what are your expectations for this year’s event? Has the economy improved enough for an uptick in attendance, and will the shortened convention make the experience more lively?

15 Responses to “What Do You Expect From ICSC’s RECon This Year?”

  1. 1 Dave Cheatham May 12, 2010 at 7:08 am

    Less is more. ICSC was getting to big to long. I think the new venue will be better. The only suggestion is they should have started at noon on Sunday. I think this year will be better as the market has shown some new life.

  2. 2 Barry Endelson May 12, 2010 at 7:22 am

    We expect it to be an improvement over last year. Expansion is still limited to the dominant retailers in their sector. Site selection is truly selective.

    Hopefully owners will not have to endure more demands for rent reductions. They will still be pressured by the low rents offered and rising property operating expenses.

    Our affiliation with The Retail Brokers Network is very successful. They have many new members and doubled the size of their booth. Our group of seasoned, local retail brokers with their feet on the ground is a proven business model.

  3. 3 Jack Nugent May 12, 2010 at 7:23 am

    As of this morning, there are 24,720 registrants. That’s a bit lower than the absolute number from last year, but there were a lot of “phantom” registrants last year. Scheduling appointments last year, you would find that even though people were registered, they had no intention of attending. It had to be 10-20% fluff. But, this year, I believe the actual number of attendees will be much higher than 2009, with few, if any, phantoms.

    I am getting the impression that this year’s Sunday Leasing Mall will be more like a Wednesday in prior years, with lighter traffic. That Monday morning start is just so ingrained in our heads.

    And, while you mention the sharp decline in attendance from 2008 to 2009, the group that did attend last year seemed to be a lot more focused on getting things done. I believe it will be a similar core this year.

  4. 4 Doug May 12, 2010 at 8:44 am

    I have 42, 30 minute meetings back to back in 2.5 days. That is 15 more than I had in 2008. I agree with the earlier post that starting at 2PM on Sunday is painful and just plain wrong. Either begin at noon on Sunday or wait until Monday morning at 8:AM. Though I believe the lower attendance is ok, people are there coming to deal.

    What is up with Westfield holding court at Simon’s House of Horrors at Ceasers Banquet Rooms???? If they don’t want to participate, then don’t. Why force attendees to have to juggle between LV Convention Center and Ceasers? Soon, others will be holding court all over Las Vegas. It is beoming ridiculous. ICSC needs to get Simon and Westfield back into the fold and cease reaming companies with higher booth fees.

  5. 5 broker May 12, 2010 at 9:16 am

    The sunday 2:00 start is stupid, why not start monday morning? Most people stayed 2 days. People with a heavy schedule stayed until weds. I would think that LV hotels would prefer the previous format which allowed them a better shot at filling rooms during the week when they tend to be empty.

  6. 6 Tahitijack May 12, 2010 at 10:42 am


    As we all know there well be a time when tenants will have to endure owners/landlords demand for higher rents and no lease concessions. For now it is still a tenant favorable market and it will be a very long time before we see a swing back to a landlord market. Executive leadership of retailers have become comfortable with the current environment and will keep the pressure on for reduced rent and other concessions.

    As for ICSC, its about time it reduced the schedule. I was among those sitting around Wednesday afternoons waiting……. We were not allowed to pack it in until the end of the day..no matter the foot traffic was zero.

  7. 7 Chris Cardoni May 12, 2010 at 11:18 am

    My company was a long-time exhibitor, but we’re going into our second year without a booth. We were unhappy with our last two booth locations, and because of all the changes we couldn’t figure out what was a “good” booth location. We opted out last year, and sent fewer people. They were just as, if not more, productive than other years. This year our sense is that no one wants to meet on Sunday or Tuesday.

    By the way, another commenter mentioned “high booth fees”. The ICSC booth fees are a minor part of the cost of exhibiting. It’s the high cost of labor and food that run up the tab, even for a small booth such as ours – another reason we’ve questioned the worth of a booth.

  8. 8 Thomas May 12, 2010 at 12:08 pm

    I agree, Monday thru Wed. More action a balance of edu. events and exposure to contacts. Dont go too far the other way or people will just stay local and network. I also agree it was getting too large, where the large only delt with the large. This type of event needs both a business and social side. We will see.

  9. 9 Jeff May 12, 2010 at 7:13 pm

    Is anyone surprised that ICSC is not doing what is best for the members? When was the last time that they sent out a survey asking for the members suggestions? While there remains value in belonging to the association, it is time to listen more to the membership and what we believe is best for us in regard to timing of meetings and the convention. It makes sense that they have shortened the convention but how do they expect the members to be able to attend education sessions and the deal making at the same time. Perhaps the convention should look more like the old National Dealmaking was in Dallas without the sessions.
    As for Simon and now Westfield taking attendees away from the center of activity is a total payback for ICSC not touting to them enough and for that I salute ICSC. They may be the big boys of the industry but that should not give them the right to disrupt, what many believe is The event of the year.
    Oh! and what happened to Shopping Centers Today, it went from being a top shelf industry magazine to a comic book sized periodical.

  10. 10 dac May 12, 2010 at 7:59 pm

    I don’t really think of this year as a “shortened” program. I used to come monday, tuesday and 1/2 of wednesday… now i’m there 1/2 of sunday, monday and tuesday. And I totally agree with the frustration of having to pack all of my Simon and Westfield meetings into one day so I don’t have to go back and forth from the convention hall.

    Though Simon/Westfield choosing to an alternative venue strikes me as very similar to tenants leaving over-priced regional malls for cheaper alternatives at the strip centers. And, as a tenant, I will be sure to remind those LL reps of the analogy when they b!tch about me leaving for the strip center outside their mall.

  11. 11 Rob May 14, 2010 at 7:18 am

    I expect there will be an improvement over last year. One could almost see tumbleweeds in some of the leasing areas.

    ICSC needs to get Simon & Westfield back into the fold and they need to return to the Monday thru Wednesday format – even if Wednesday is half a day.

    Tuesday thru Thursday would be even better as it would give participants better rates on hotels and airfare. Lowering costs has become an industry wide standard & ICSC should lead the way.

  12. 12 dealmaker May 14, 2010 at 8:15 am

    Expectations??? Not so great.

    The event itself was and is changing radically and won’t return to what it was. It’s safe to say the ICSC lost control of the event with some of the larger LL’s breaking off on their own fractionalizing the event and the industry. Perhaps we’ll see a day not so far in the future where the enclosed mall operators group in one hotel, Powers Strip LL’s in another and so on…With this in mind…can ICSC slow down or reverse this trend? Or is it beyond their control and they just keep on doing what they’ve been programmed for decades to do?

    This year we, like some of you above are without a booth…taking the show and our story to the retailers where ever it is convenient to meet. No regrets though, as all of us have all made our contributions to keeping numerous retailers alive, and in doing so have kept our industry alive but with little or no margins for things like overpriced booths, furniture, and food. Hence, cutting costs should be mutually understandable…business frugality and thrift is still in vogue and looks to be for some time coming. Our hotel rooms were a lot less than last year…but was booth space? Space is space right?

    Many retail attendees…have suggested that we meet them at Caesars…a trend encouraging more of us not to register for the convention at all.

    While it is still the one primary singular event for the industry, the show needs a broader perspective, new architecture and a program that is more meaningful to more prospective attendees providing more options for different areas of interest. Those of us in smaller companies who wear “all the hats” don’t have the time or budget to do much more than meet dealmakers and promote prospective deals…revenue comes first….deals come first..everything else is second priority. Does ICSC understand that many of us, probably the majority of us, don’t have specialized staffs anymore even if we once did?

    The big question is…with ICSC as the organization that supposedly represents it’s members and the members best interests: What are they doing to steer the event in a new direction (especially for the paying and attending memebers) and to bring the industry and the organization to a new and different level as it continues to change? Lets hope ICSC gets the big picture (in detail) in focus soon…before we all decide to go solo to the big dance next time.

    ICSC: Give us a reason, as an organization, to be better, for those of us who actually agree to stand together.

  13. 13 James May 14, 2010 at 10:27 am

    I think the Convention Center itself, the associated costs, the shear size of the event and the Vegas atmosphere have caused the event to lose focus and for many companies to feel lost in a sea of sameness. Companies locating outside the event in Hotels are trying to regain focus on their product and do business in venue that will have their personal brand stamp on it. There is value in this Specialness and that value is unattainable in the larger convention halls. I am going this year, and I am expecting a better convention all around than in years passed, seems like everyone has learned a few things about this event.

  14. 14 Dave May 14, 2010 at 11:58 am

    Consider this…if GGP & Simon were married would the entire convention shift to Ceasers? The power of the convention was everyone in one place at one time. Consolidation is going to continue…if ICSC doesn’t address this issue RECON will eventually look more like a regional meeting.

  15. 15 John May 17, 2010 at 9:20 am

    Two words…Net Meeting

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