Happy New Year! Like many of you, I am busy firming up plans for 2020, to keep pace with lofty goals for The Magnificent Mile district. Last month, Mayor Lightfoot released her ten-year economic development strategy to drive inclusive growth. I’m honored to have been asked by the City and World Business Chicago to participate in a Tourism and Hospitality Working Group of industry experts that will refine this plan in the coming months.
While we continue to welcome customers from around the world to our district, current numbers indicate that international visitors are down and local and regional visitors are up. Happily, Chicago was just named the most immigrant-friendly city in America by New American Economy, which tells us that our international reputation as a welcoming city remains strong and our overall visitor numbers are robust. We will continue to emphasize visitor and customer experience in the district and with our members, as experience continues to play an increasing role in purchasing decisions. Superior customer service, positive in-store experiences and customization of inventory can mean the difference between making a sale and losing it to an online-only competitor.
Despite 2019’s holiday shopping season having only 26 days between Black Friday and Christmas Eve, the National Retail Federation predicted retail sales would increase around 4 percent over 2018. A survey of major retailers along The Magnificent Mile, including our three shopping centers, confirmed this positive trend. As retail and consumer buying habits continue to shift, we’ll be following the latest trends and conveying them to you to incorporate.
One way we do that is through our mobile-optimized wayfinding on TheMagnificentMile.com. I’m pleased to report that it yielded a 28% increase for pageviews of member business listings year over year. We hope to pique interest in cyberspace and then drive customers to your authentic, in-store/in-person experiences.
As always, don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions. Email me at email@example.com. Here’s to a healthy and prosperous 2020!
President and CEO