We’re only a
month away from the International Council of Shopping Centers’ (ICSC) annual
RECon convention in Las Vegas (and from Hartman Simons’ annual show party). Therefore, we thought it was an ideal time to pose
four questions to Jesse Tron, manager of communications and media relations at
ICSC, about this year’s show. A big thanks to Jesse for his time.


JT-Headshot

Tron


For many
reasons – the fading effects of the Great Recession and the growing presence of
e-commerce, to name just two – this is a very interesting time for the retail
real estate industry. What are some of the key issues and trends addressed by this
year’s RECon educational sessions?

 

Tron: The retail landscape has changed. Varying store space requirements, new
leasing strategies, diversification in the tenant mix and multi-channel
consumer touch points all have changed the way the shopping center industry
operates. A new retail reality is certainly upon us, and this year’s RECon
sessions are designed to help attendees navigate this changing retail
landscape.

Tell us a
little about the show's lineup of keynote speakers. Is there one that you are
particularly excited about hearing?

Tron: We have three unique keynote speakers this year. On Sunday, May 19,
Steven Levitt, the best-selling author of “Freakonomics” and “SuperFreakonomics,”
will use his counter-intuitive style to provide insights on problem solving
that can be applied to everyday business situations.

On Monday, May
20, Randi Zuckerberg, the former head of marketing at Facebook and now the founder
and CEO of Zuckerberg Media, will give a keynote address titled “A Day in the
Life of the Modern Consumer.” You can also swing by the #iTechLounge in the
Marketplace Mall to meet Randi after her talk. Also, Gregory Wasson, president and
CEO of Walgreens, will address attendees on Tuesday, May 21, with a look at how
the drugstore business in the U.S. is changing.

Personally, I am
excited to hear Steven Levitt since I have read “Freakonomics” (and plan to
read “SuperFreakonomics”) and think that his concepts are rather unique. I’m
interested to hear how some of them can be applied to the retail sector.

What
are some of the new show features planned for RECon 2013?

Tron: You’ll want to make sure you stop by the brand new Retailer Square, which
will consist of 21 retailers in a single area of the South Hall Lower Level. Also,
back for its second year is the Marketplace Mall, the exclusive home of product
and service providers at RECon. The Marketplace Mall is the only show floor
open on Sunday, and will give attendees a chance to check out the latest
innovations and solutions that can help improve profitability for shopping
centers and retailers.

Located in the
Marketplace Mall and the Central Hall will be the brand new #iTechLounge, a
place where emerging tech trends – from social media to mobile marketing to SEO
– will be discussed and examined. Whether you are taking your first steps into
creating an online marketing strategy, are interested in emerging trends or are
looking for ways to integrate digital platforms, the #iTechLounge will have a
session for you.

How many
attendees and exhibitors are you expecting this year, and how do those numbers
compare to 2012?

Tron: Attendance is running ahead of last year at this time by about 1,000
people, so we are planning to have between 33,000 and 35,000 attendees this
year. We again plan to have nearly 1,000 exhibitors, similar to last year.

(To download the RECon 2013 program, click here.)