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City’s top retail leaders forecast post-COVID industry landscape

Macy’s, Cushman & Wakefield, Urbanspace and Leading Local Retailers Join Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce to Address Future of the Retail Industry

April 21, 2021 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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With the economy still recovering from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and about half of the city’s small businesses permanently closed, the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce today hosted a virtual forum addressing what New York City’s retail industry will look like post-pandemic, retail impacts on the city’s real estate sector, and the best practices for recovering retail businesses.

Jeff Gennette, Chairman & CEO, Macy’s, Inc. and Brooklyn resident, presented the forum’s keynote address providing a firsthand account of the pandemic’s effect on the nation’s largest department store, industry shifts that accelerated in 2020 and the company’s expectations for driving continued growth while elevating the customer’s digital and physical retail experience. Macy’s iconic Herald Square flagship is located in Manhattan, and the company has two Brooklyn locations in Downtown Brooklyn and Kings Plaza, as well as two Macy’s Backstage off-price locations. A third Backstage will open on May 1 in Kings Plaza.

Gennette’s remarks were followed by a discussion led by Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Randy Peers on the major issues and opportunities facing New York’s retail sector, including perspectives from the National Retail Federation, Cushman & Wakefield, Urbanspace, 1010 WINS, and some of Brooklyn’s leading retail businesses such as Whisk, Greene Grape, Brooklyn Tea, Shopin.NYC, and CaribBeing.

Panelists described successful strategies for following and homing in on evolving consumer cultures, eliminating barriers between in-store and online customer experiences, unleashing technology, data, and social media to assist transacting with customers in multiple ways, and efforts to get vacant storefronts and commercial corridors back on track.

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“Retailers big and small are the backbone of New York’s commercial corridors, key drivers of our economy, and essential components of Brooklyn’s vibrant and distinct neighborhoods,” said Randy Peers, President and CEO of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce. “The skyrocketing number of storefront vacancies citywide will tell you the unimaginably difficult year it’s been for retail, but this impressive and resilient group of industry leaders can offer valuable insights for surviving, retooling, and positioning for future success.”

Summit sponsor Fiserv, a leading global provider of payments and financial services technology solutions, launched its Back2Business program last year in Brooklyn, and to date has provided support to hundreds of small, minority owned businesses adversely impacted by the pandemic.

“While the future of retail is dynamic, it is certain to be more digitally driven,” said Frank Bisignano, President and CEO of Fiserv and a Brooklyn native. “This gathering is an important opportunity to discuss how businesses can move forward and access the talent, tools and capital they need to succeed in the months and years ahead.”

“The health of our retail sector is vital to the overall health of our economy,” said Diana Boutross, executive managing director of retail services at Cushman & Wakefield. “The Chamber’s retail summit focuses on how we support businesses in the borough during recovery and what role we all play in ensuring they remain viable in the future. Cushman & Wakefield is proud to be involved in this important conversation.”

The Chamber’s retail forum was supported by sponsors Fiserv, Investors Bank, Cushman & Wakefield, Macy’s Inc., Spectrum Reach, TD Bank, and DIME.

About the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce: The Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce is among the largest and most influential business advocacy organizations in New York, having spent the last hundred years developing and promoting policies that drive economic development and advance its members’ interests. The Chamber is the voice of Brooklyn’s business community, offering the resources, programs, tools and direct support businesses need to continue creating jobs and opportunities in their communities.

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