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From the Editor

Spring Has Sprung

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SPRING CAN BE associated with a fresh start, new beginnings – reinvention. And when it comes to the retail industry, malls seem to be embarking on a sort of reinvention in recent months.

In fact, as soon as we were about to go to press with this issue, Placer.ai released a report focusing on mall traffic that found an increase in visits by 2.4 percent year-over-year during the fourth quarter of 2023. And while January 2024 saw a dip, according to the report, traffic bounced back yet again in February. Visits overall, however, do remain below pre-Covid levels. What does this mean for the future of the U.S. mall? Only time will tell, but seeing some semi-positive statistics is encouraging. (For more mall insights, check out our Sector Spotlight on pg. 50.)

Besides malls, one could argue the entire retail industry has been undergoing a reinvention the last several years, from adopting AI to integrating curbside pick-up, frictionless physical experiences and beyond. That reinvention is accelerated by the people who drive change in this industry, and some of those folks are part of our 2024 class of Designer Dozen winners, highlighted on pg. 32.

Each year, VMSD selects and honors 12 retailers and designers, age 35 and under, who make a difference in and outside of their places of work. Nominated by colleagues and peers, these rising creatives constantly reinvigorate our hopeful attitudes toward the future of physical retail through their impeccable designs and forward-thinking outlooks when it comes to store/customer experiences.

We’ll be celebrating our Designer Dozen winners – as well as all our 2024 competition winners – on-site at the 2024 International Retail Design Conference (IRDC), taking place at the Kansas City Marriott Downtown Oct. 9-10 in Kansas City, Mo. We invite you to help us celebrate these rising industry stars at IRDC 2024 during our annual awards luncheon.

Registration for the conference will open soon, so stay tuned to vmsd.com and irdconline.com for more updates in the coming months.

Happy spring – and perhaps reinvention – from the VMSD team.

Spring Has Sprung

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