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E-Commerce Continues Strong Growth in Core Retail Sales

Segment Records Most Significant Improvement of Nine Retail Categories Since 2005

Los Angeles – May 17, 2012 – The e-commerce segment has continued to see strong growth in its share of core retail sales captured—the most significant improvement of the nine retail categories tracked by the U.S. Census Bureau. E-commerce saw its share of core retail sales captured rise from 3% to 6% during the past six years; while the majority of brick-and-mortar retailers’ shares declined during the same period.

This and other key retail industry developments—including sales growth; retailers’ movement toward construction of smaller brick-and-mortar stores; and market, economic and consumer trends—are featured in CBRE’s third annual edition of “Shop Talk - A Retailer’s Perspective,” which has been released in advance of the upcoming RECon 2012 conference in Las Vegas.

“While the share of e-commerce sales remains low compared to other, larger retail segments, such as general merchandise and food and beverage stores, the substantial improvement in e-commerce’s share cannot be ignored,” said Anthony Buono, Executive Managing Director of CBRE Retail Services in the Americas. “Retailers are now more ‘plugged-in’ than ever before to the wants, needs and desires of their target consumers, and e-commerce will continue to play a transformative role in the shifting retail landscape.”

Other findings from the report include:

  • Discounters, wholesale clubs and drug stores managed to keep sales growth in positive territory, even when some other retailer segments were deep into the red. Coming out of the recession, the luxury segment has recorded the strongest growth after a steep decline. Wholesale clubs and discounters continue to record strong—and accelerating—growth as well.
  • Smaller-store construction began as a big box/power center retailer trend, and has now bled into other retailers as well (i.e., apparel/anchor mall tenants), with some pointing to the internet and increased online shopping as the cause for the decrease in store sizes.
  • With the exception of power centers, net absorption rates by center type have improved but remain well below pre-recession rates. Malls and lifestyle centers, buoyed by luxury sales, have gained the most ground. Going forward, absorption rates will remain positive, given the fact that retailers remain circumspect about the consumer environment, focusing on remodeling current stores rather than expanding too quickly. However, it is going to take some time for rates to return to pre-recession levels.

​Bolstered by enhanced web exposure and online promotions, e-commerce sales have experience year-over-year growth between 14% and 18% each quarter since the holiday shopping season of 2009. Per the U.S. Census Bureau, the two retailer segments that seized the largest share of e-commerce sales were clothing and accessories, and electronics and appliances. Segments likely to record an increase going forward are books and magazines, as well as music and videos, due to the increasing popularity of tablets and e-readers.

“Shop Talk - A Retailer’s Perspective” was created to address the current and future climate from a retailer’s perspective and is published on an annual basis. The Spring 2012 edition also features insightful market interviews with executives from major retail brands, including Home Depot, 24-Hour Fitness and the Container Store. The report was compiled in conjunction with the CBRE Retail Services team and CBRE Global Research and Consulting.

Please click here for a copy of “Shop Talk - A Retailer’s Perspective.”

Note to Editors:

To speak with Mr. Buono or another CBRE retail expert while at RECon, please contact Larry Koestler (212.984.8375 or

About CBRE Group, Inc.
CBRE Group, Inc. (NYSE:CBG), a Fortune 500 and S&P 500 company headquartered in Los Angeles, is the world’s largest commercial real estate services firm (in terms of 2011 revenue).  The Company has approximately 34,000 employees (excluding affiliates), and serves real estate owners, investors and occupiers through more than 300 offices (excluding affiliates) worldwide. CBRE offers strategic advice and execution for property sales and leasing; corporate services; property, facilities and project management; mortgage banking; appraisal and valuation; development services; investment management; and research and consulting. Please visit our Web site at​​​

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