The next decade of Ryan Sciullo’s career may look a little different than his first 15 years of selling grocery-anchored shopping centers.
Sciullo, a senior member of CBRE’s national retail group, specializes in shopping centers anchored by food retailers like Giant, Trader Joe’s and BJ’s Wholesale Club. As Covid-19 has accelerated a transition to online shopping — even for grocers, long thought to be an internet-proof category of retail — Sciullo thinks he’ll be selling hybrid retail-industrial properties before long.
That shift, highlighted this week by news that Simon Property Group Inc. might convert mall spaces intoAmazon.com Inc. distribution centers, has major implications for other tenants populating grocer-anchored centers, from nail salons and Chinese restaurants to gyms and Tuesday Morning-type retailers.
Before the pandemic, grocery titans including Walmart Inc. and Kroger Co. spent hundreds of millions of dollars to make online ordering and curbside pickup a breeze for time-crunched consumers. It’s an investment that seems prescient in the wake of the novel coronavirus: U.S. online grocery sales jumped month-over-month by 9% to a record $7.2 billion in June, according to Brick Meets Click, an advisory firm that studies the crossover in food retail and technology.