Published On Jun 28, 2023  
in  Retail Real Estate Industry

As the retail industry continues to evolve, PECO’s National Accounts Team is always on top of the newest trends and opportunities as they arise. From quick-service restaurants to specialty sweets and treats, health and beauty products, medical services, artificial intelligence initiatives, and more – there is no shortage of emerging concepts that retailers are leveraging as they look for innovative ways to reach their customers.   Here’s some of what we’ve been seeing recently:


  • Daiso: Last year, this Japanese dollar store announced its intention to open 25 to 30 new locations across the U.S., and the global favorite has already opened several stores in the first quarter of 2023 driving significant consumer interest. Daiso offers an extensive selection of high-quality housewares and novelty items at unbeatable prices – many times offering exclusive products, including seasonal and limited-edition items, craft supplies, and kitchenware as well as health and beauty products, toys, and stationery. Daiso has recently been found expanding into suburban markets due to a combination of strong population growth and high demand from consumers looking for unique products at great prices.
  • Quick-service Restaurants: Quick-service restaurants have seen a rapid rise in the number of emerging concepts that are targeting aggressive expansion in recent years. Examples of these include drive-by drink shop Swig Soda, creative cookie maker Crave, signature donut maker Pinkbox Donuts, and Wow Wow Lemonade Stand, which offers fresh pressed Hawaiian lemonades. We’ve found that quick-service restaurants that started as urban-native brands, such as Sweetgreen and Dig and Vitality Bowls, have been refining their urban footprints and prioritizing expansion across suburban neighborhoods with growing populations to cater to remote workforces and suburban migration. Meanwhile, major quick-service retailers such as Chipotle and Starbucks remain highly active in dealmaking for outparcel locations, with Dave’s Hot Chicken coming on strong in this regard as well.
  • Medical: The medical, or "medtail," category is one of the fastest-growing retail trends as consumers are increasingly seeking convenience and access to services that improve healthcare outcomes. As a result, we have seen an uptick in the number of therapy locations opening within shopping centers. West Side Children's Therapy is one example that has seen rapid growth with more than two dozen locations now popping up across the Chicagoland area, including multiple locations within PECO shopping centers. Other medtail concepts expanding quickly include urgent care facilities, primary care doctors' offices, telehealth services, and specialty pharmacies. These businesses are responding to consumer demands for better access to personalized healthcare services at a fraction of the cost of traditional hospital visits.
  • Artificial Intelligence: As the retail industry continues to evolve, technology and artificial intelligence are becoming increasingly important elements of emerging trends. With AI capabilities expanding rapidly, retailers are looking for innovative ways to leverage these new technologies to improve customer service and experience. For example, the fast-food giant, Wendy's, recently announced a partnership with Google Cloud to pilot Wendy’s FreshAI, an AI-powered drive-thru ordering tool. This tool is intended to revolutionize the drive-thru ordering experience by providing customers with more personalized experiences while also optimizing speed and efficiency. As these technologies continue to advance over the coming years, they will undoubtedly have an even greater impact on retail trends going forward.


Overall, it’s clear that retail is still very much alive and adapting to the ever-changing consumer landscape. We are seeing strong demand for space in grocery-anchored shopping centers from a plethora of retailers, as well as a surge of interest in specialty sweets and medical concepts. It will be exciting to follow these developments over the coming months and years – who knows where they may take us!

Brian Sheehan
Brian Sheehan
Director of National Accounts