Dear Members,

Happy New Year! I trust your holidays were good and 2020 is off to a strong start. I am pleased to report nothing but positive momentum as we reflect on 2019 and prepare for the Annual Meeting of the membership on Tuesday, February 4 at the Ritz-Carlton Chicago. We’re in the process of closing the books for 2019 and preliminary year-over-year financials indicate an upswing of close to a quarter million dollars providing a solid foundation for a refreshed budgeting process. Plans are in place, and we are ready for another successful year. We look forward to seeing you at the annual meeting to learn more.

Now that the important holiday retail sales season is behind us, here are some reflections and predictions on this important sector of our membership. The National Retail Federation announced on its website that holiday retail sales during 2019 grew 4.1 percent over the same period in 2018 to $730.2B – “ … a positive national indicator of what’s ahead” according to Matthew Shay – NRF President & CEO . Online sales were up the most in November and December at 14.6% over the year prior, as predicted, though the news cycle surrounding a brick and mortar retail apocalypse has quietened.

From a local perspective, The Real Deal Chicago provides some perspective on the dynamics we see on the Magnificent Mile. A recent story from The Real Deal Chicago detailed the trend of retail rightsizing along The Magnificent Mile: large vacant spaces are being parceled out for tenants best suited to an increase in e-commerce and changes in consumer behavior. Successful retailers must take an omnichannel approach – between the store and cyberspace – to utilize every square foot of a reduced footprint. Longtime member and CBRE broker, Todd Siegel, describes it as “solving a vertical jigsaw puzzle,” even as large developments are underway like the ground floor retail space to planned by Golub & Company and CIM for the Tribune Tower.

Amidst constant changes, the Association is committed to keeping members informed and has planned for a series of panel discussions in 2020 on a variety of topics. As always, please reach out directly with your thoughts and feedback by email to

Best wishes for the new year,

Rich Gamble

Chair of the Board of Directors