In many real estate companies, the Research Department is best known for mapping the company’s existing sites and running demographics on those sites, or maybe finding new sites by driving potential areas to seek new growth opportunities. At Weingarten Realty, the research department provides analysis that goes far beyond just cartography and site selection.
Regularly, the research department is tasked with economic analysis and forecasting, including analysis of retailer sales and the strength of certain metro areas. The majority of the Weingarten portfolio is grocery-anchored; therefore, we are often asked to project and forecast grocery sales for potential clients. We support Investor Relations with analysis to market the strength of the portfolio to investors and analysts.
Market entry strategies are developed for retailers interested in entering an unknown market. A meeting with the retailer to discuss growth plans and specific criteria for the new market then allows us the ability to recommend geographic areas of interest for their new venture. Typically, we have long-standing relationships with these retailers and understand their need for our expertise.
The analysis of demographic data helps Weingarten in many ways. We assist leasing by matching retailers’ demographic preferences to ideal locations in our portfolio. The demographic trends around Weingarten shopping centers are constantly analyzed to determine if our portfolio of centers needs to adjust to fit our acquisition and disposition strategy.
When driving the market, not only do we look for new sites, but we track all major retail competition in the area. This database of key retail in a particular market reveals retailer finds voids that leasing can use to open a conversation with a potential retailer to discuss a new location that they may not have been able to consider otherwise.
Our team of five is highly qualified with four geographers and one economist; four members have completed a master’s degree. Prior to working at Weingarten, our research associates have acquired experience and knowledge by working as researchers for supermarkets; administering the city/regional planning process; performing duties for the Census Bureau; and actively driving the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) industry. Weingarten Realty often takes a geographic approach to analysis because of the level of geographic expertise in our research department, and because of the impact geography holds on the real estate market.