Retail as a service, with brands using CRE to test products, will emerge stronger post-Covid.

NAREIM speaks with Manuel Martin, global head of retail at Nuveen Real Estate, on how he is looking to the future of the asset class and what that means for positioning Nuveen’s legacy portfolio and mall assets in an increasingly digitized and omni-channel world.


Key highlights and insights into the future of retail include:

  • Re-densification of retail will not work as a one-size-fits-all solution. 

  • Retail as a service — where brands test products with and tailor solutions for consumers — will emerge stronger. 

  • Increased number of pop-up stores. 

  • Necessity and convenience will be the top agenda for all retail assets. 

  • Strip malls need to embrace diversified uses such as professional service and medical office tenants. 

  • Managers have to assess the omni-channel capabilities of incoming retailers. 

  • Amazon has a glass ceiling; there are activities (medical, food, entertainment) that need brick-and-mortar stores and that is why it is investing in physical retail. 

  • Retail real estate investment managers of the future need to have knowledge of real estate, other uses, redevelopment skills, the right technology and access to data to succeed.


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First published in NAREIM Dialogues Spring 2021, published in association with IREI.