San Antonio, TX

San Antonio Retailers Adjust to Pandemic-Era Changes in Consumer Shopping Patterns with New Strategies for the 2022 Holiday Shopping Season

CBRE’s annual holiday trends guide shows retailers adapting to stave off challenges like labor shortages and supply chain disruptions – and calling on Santa for a little help

November 21, 2022

Female shopping in retail store

Retailers in San Antonio have applied lessons learned from the past two years of pandemic-influenced shopping patterns to position their stores and e-commerce operations for this year’s holiday season, according to CBRE’s annual Holiday Retail Trends Guide.

These adaptive strategies are expected to help boost national holiday spending to a 6.9 percent, year-over-year increase in fourth-quarter retail sales to $1.48 trillion, based on CBRE’s analysis of multiple industry projections.

“Coming into the holiday season, retail leasing activity in San Antonio has been at an all-time high,” said Ricky Patel, associate and retail specialist with CBRE San Antonio. “Market-wide retail occupancy sits at 95.3 percent and will likely grow due to most of the construction pipeline delivering in the latter half of 2023. Although the retail landscape remains competitive, San Antonio continues to attract many national and regional brands.”

He added, “The demand for retail product can largely be attributed to residential growth within suburban markets. Alamo Ranch, Helotes, North Central and North East San Antonio remain favorable destinations for both new and established operators expanding within the market.”

To get ahead of the challenges that upended holiday shopping in recent years—including labor shortages, scarcity of certain merchandise due to supply chain disruptions and outpaced growth in e-commerce versus in-store sales—retailers across the board are largely focusing on three key trends in 2022, according to CBRE’s report.

1.  More Inventory, Less Out-of-Stock

Supply chain disruptions roiled the retail industry in 2020 and 2021 as shuttered factories and bottlenecked ports created shortages of certain merchandise in stores and online. Retailers and e-commerce companies have countered that problem this year by stocking more inventory closer to the customer, be it in stores or warehouses that are closest to large population centers.

This entailed shifting from a “just-in-time” model of stocking only what is forecast to be needed to a “just-in-case” model of amassing deeper inventories farther ahead of the season. In many cases, this has resulted in jam-packed warehouses and larger-than-usual stockpiles of loaded shipping containers behind stores or in storage yards. This is one of the factors that has pushed the vacancy rate of leased warehouse space in the U.S. to a scant 2.8 percent this year from 3.6 percent last year.

2.  Solving the Labor Puzzle

The pandemic caused disruption and displacement in the job market that the retail industry, among others, is still grappling with.

Retailers are taking multiple approaches to address the labor challenge. Some have reduced store hours, including several national retailers that have announced they won’t open on Thanksgiving this year. And some are leaning more on their e-commerce operations, as staffing fulfillment roles in warehouses has often proven easier than finding more associates for retail stores.

Another tweak involves store layouts. Many retailers have redesigned their stores to dedicate space for employees to fill online orders quickly and separate space for customers to pick up those orders, making stores more efficient and allowing for better connection between retail associates and customers.

3.  Come for the Experience, Stay for the Shopping

Retailers and shopping center owners have experimented for years with improved placemaking, which often entails adding services and experiences. Many mall owners have converted formerly vacant storefronts into Instagram-worthy moments and exhibits. Examples include the Netflix Stranger Things Experience in Los Angeles, Atlanta, and London, and Princess Diana exhibits in shopping centers in Las Vegas and near Washington, D.C.

Finally, Santa Claus is here to help. The Santa-for-hire business is up 121 percent from 2019 to 2021 and is even more active building up to the 2022 holiday season, according to Santa-booking company, Hire Santa. The traditional Santa visit has evolved in recent years to include online appointment booking and print ordering, as well as more photo shoots with pets. Several big retailers, such as massive outdoor retailers with standalone stores, have added Santa visits at their locations.

To read the full brief, click here.

About CBRE Group, Inc.
CBRE Group, Inc. (NYSE:CBRE), a Fortune 500 and S&P 500 company headquartered in Dallas, is the world’s largest commercial real estate services and investment firm (based on 2021 revenue). The company has more than 105,000 employees (excluding Turner & Townsend employees) serving clients in more than 100 countries. CBRE serves a diverse range of clients with an integrated suite of services, including facilities, transaction and project management; property management; investment management; appraisal and valuation; property leasing; strategic consulting; property sales; mortgage services and development services. Please visit our website at www.cbre.com.