The San Diego Union Tribune has a story about a “panel of retail experts, gathered at the University of San Diego’s Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate forum to peer into the near-term future.”

The conclusions included: “Stores are showrooms and your purchases are delivered to your home” … “malls are places where you work out and then eat, go to your office and live around the corner” … “an autonomous car takes you to and from other shopping centers, and parking lots are repurposed for a higher and better use” … and “artificial intelligence makes it possible to order a piece of apparel without even trying it on or leaving the couch — but you still go out because you crave human interaction.”

The surfeit of retail square footage was very much at the heart of the discussion, with the general feeling be that real estate companies will have to figure out ways to use that space, with multi-use properties appearing to the strategic key.

KC's View: I think it is fair to say that there will technological developments that will make malls and physical shopping experiences even less necessary, and that we don’t even know what many of them will be. Which means that it is imperative for every bricks-and-mortar retailer to be innovating at least as quickly, finding ways to be more relevant and compelling.