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Rebecca Fitts

Principal, The Wild West of Retail
Rebecca Fitts is a retail consultant focusing on non-traditional retail real estate strategies, brick and mortar customer experience and omni-channel solutions in the physical space. She’s specializes in pop-up shops, shorter term leases (1,3,5 and 7 years), commuter hubs, airports, retail as a service, co-working spaces and beyond. She is not a real estate broker (but loves and knows many of them). Her expertise lies in connecting brands to the right spaces at the right time and negotiating leases. A real estate unicorn, if you will, she loves being part of the continuing evolution between landlords and tenants. She’s had the pleasure of working with digitally native and emerging brands to help them navigate the disruptive retail landscape starting in 2008 with her own brand and series of pop-up shops in New York City. Prior to her adventures in real estate she spent a decade working for retailers such as Vera Wang, Playboy and Steve & Barry’s in their PR and marketing departments. Most recently, Rebecca worked in the mall industry for GGP/Brookfield and Westfield (now Uniball-Rodamco) in omni-channel solutions, retail and business development positions helping attract new retailers to the portfolio in the form of pop-up shops and experiences. She attributes her success in these roles to her ability to listen and relate to these retailers, sense when they were ready to make the transition into the brick and mortar world and acting as a source of information on topics outside of real estate. In her free time she loves to read her horoscope, kickback with her husband and two cats, workout, travel and of course visit (and shop at) emerging retailers. A typical Aquarius, she feels lucky she was ahead of her time and one of the pioneers in the NYC pop-up industry.
  • Posted on: 08/03/2018

    Empty malls spelled the end for Brookstone stores

    I agree with many members of the BrainTrust -- declining mall traffic hurt the brand, but don't forget they did have freestanding stores and they even attempted to do an experiential merchandising play by adding in new inventions from small brands. I think retailers like b8ta will be taking their place -- most likely with fewer stores, strategically picked locations and smaller footprints. There will be more mall store closings and malls will adapt with new and different uses.
  • Posted on: 08/01/2018

    Zara bets on faster deliveries from stores to boost online growth

    It's omni-channel at it's best! Retail rents are high -- it's a great way to maximize stores. However as many of you have pointed out there are complications from inventory systems, staffing and use of space to tackle.
  • Posted on: 07/17/2018

    Abercrombie & Fitch brings pop-ups and more to hotels

    Like many of my BrainTrust colleagues, I question how good of a match this is -- but they are trying to reach a new audience so perhaps it's a strong collaboration. Retailers are looking for the next frontier of where to connect with consumers and hospitality is there for the taking as is co-working, airports and other transit hubs. Malls and the high street are also still great places to do business for retailers with the right products and services. Also, hospitality and some of the newer venues can easily full fill a retailer's pop-up needs.
  • Posted on: 06/19/2018

    Will an online dating site formula work for pop-ups?

    Pop-up shops are here to stay. Retailers of both native and legacy brands are looking for shorter leases and smaller spaces. While it's probably more beneficial for brands, developers and landlords are adjusting and even looking to attract retailers that add a sense of discovery, surprise and delight to the property. Retail real estate pricing goes back to banks who need to evaluate properties on shorter term leases, instead of 10 year leases. I think this evolution is beginning to happen. I like what PopUp Shops is doing, but it seems like a crowed space with Storefront, Appear Here, This Open Space and many other newcomers.
  • Posted on: 05/29/2018

    Target’s new Instagrammable collaboration is a sweet deal

    Collaborations have to make sense first and foremost and this one certainly does! Finding the balance is based on the brand -- it's what makes creating a great customer experience so hard. There aren't any cookie cutter answers. A guide shop is much more heavy on experience (most of the time), but it isn't the right fit for every retailer.
  • Posted on: 05/17/2018

    Walmart drops Scan & Go tech – again

    For most retailers technology changes are an evolution not a revolution -- human experiments -- which are good. I do think they will return to it -- perhaps the consumer needs to catch up to them. Implications abound -- for grocery and drugstores not to mention Amazon. It appears there still needs to be a human element -- Nordstrom Racked is doing a good job with their Express Checkouts. I was about to abandon my purchase due to a long line when an Express sales associate pulled me over. She couldn't scan me out on the spot, but a few steps away was her station.
  • Posted on: 05/16/2018

    Can retailers find riches at sea?

    I think this is certainly untapped and believe smart retailers are looking to find out where consumers are shopping and experiencing their brands, including commuter hubs, airports and hotels. The advantages are similar across these categories -- a captive audience/guaranteed foot traffic.
  • Posted on: 05/15/2018

    Target sees stores as key to meeting its distribution challenges

    I agree with most of the BrainTrust. This seems like a winning strategy from another perspective as well. In major cities, they are taking smaller spaces (perhaps shorter leases) protecting themselves from overhead issues while still leveraging an omnichannel strategy. I see their urban stores working well and continuing to expand. If it's executed properly, it will also be good for their consumers.
  • Posted on: 05/03/2018

    Macy’s latest acquisition is all about STORYtelling

    This is big for Macy's and there have been many other large institutions who have looked at the model and thought about how to re-create it. I have no doubt that Rachel can scale STORY and perhaps give each STORY a sense of place. I think the question will be, is the Macy's customer interested in this? And if they aren't, how do you make it interesting to them? Perhaps it's just what Rachel can bring to the team at Macy's in the realm of store experience that is most valuable.
  • Posted on: 04/18/2018

    Who will fill the retailing void left by Toys ‘R’ Us?

    I think online will certainly get its fair share of the uptick, but I wouldn't count FAO Schwarz (reopening in Rockefeller Center soon) out of the mix, and I have to say this (perhaps wishful thinking), the independent local retailers, too. The category could also take a play out of some of the biggest game/toy concepts like Nintendo and pop-ups based on demand. The weight of overhead for the category can't be denied.
  • Posted on: 04/05/2018

    Target succeeds by going big on convenience in small stores

    The supply of retail real estate in this country is out of balance & that's putting it mildly. Target isn't the only retailer beginning to change its strategy to smaller footprints and leases. The cost of overhead is having a huge impact on retailers. To help overcome this, many of them are beginning to use their stores for a wider variety of functions, from sales to distribution centers for a better customer experience and to get the most bang for their buck, e.g. omnichannel solutions.
  • Posted on: 03/29/2018

    Retailers can reduce turnover by treating employees like consumers

    This is such an important topic as retail continues to evolve. Now more than ever the retail employee plays a critical role in the store experience and treating them as the critical player they are on this team is hugely important. I like the personalization tool -- this could also measure how much they've sold and connect in-store sales to online sales and incentives for staff.
  • Posted on: 03/27/2018

    Will a new designer collaboration be a smash hit for Target?

    Hunter has great brand recognition and is in demand, however, it does have limited uses (if you think rain gear). I believe it will bring continued success for the Target, probably not the same way as the Missoni partnership did, but still good. They've slowed down in past years with some of the partnerships and I think they could do a few more without reaching saturation. With the issues that Target has had with security they need incentives for potential card holders. Seeing as some of these partnerships have crashed their site, it could increase card sales.
  • Posted on: 03/26/2018

    Customers want to be left alone while shopping

    Remember the movie "Pretty Woman"? Some people still want that experience -- particularly at the luxury level. The key word is balance. If I have a store associate who knows what I bought in the past on a handheld device and can help me with a return before I get to the cash wrap, I'm all in. Technology also has to work the majority of the time to be a positive experience. I am sure I am not the only one who's needed someone to come over for assistance during self checkout. Right now I think the role of store associate or ambassador is more important than ever before and equipped with the right technology they are relevant and will remain relevant.
  • Posted on: 03/23/2018

    In this digital revolution, stores are media

    I'm not sure it ever existed. Most online brands are experimenting with physical retail -- the most used example is Warby Parker who's intention was to be purely digital. Amazon isn't purely online anymore. Stores are definitely being redefined in Michael Dart's book Retail's Seismic Shift he talks about stores as platforms not stores and they are and will be platforms for a wide variety of uses from guide shop, same day delivery, distribution center to experiences.
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