Simon says digital native brands can find a home in its malls
Simon Property Group (SPG) is partnering with retail real estate platform Leap to give digital native brands with no or limited physical footprints a brick-and-mortar location in its shopping malls.
Leap empowers digital brands to more rapidly launch brick-and-mortar locations with less risk and expense, and plans to bring four stores to SPG-owned malls in the initial phase of its partnership with the national mall owner. The partnership will be launching a True Classic Tees store in the Del Amo Fashion Center in Los Angeles and stores for ThirdLove, Sugarfina and Goodlife in the Town Center at Boca Raton in Florida.
Leap appears to have pre-existing relationships with all of the brands being launched in SPG malls. The Leap website maintains a list of all the stores launched through its platform, and shows one or more brick-and-mortar locations currently open for each of the brands discussed in the press release.
Some of the relationships appear to be quite new and may represent the brands’ first foray into physical retail. True Classic Tees, for instance, was reported as being an online-only brand in September of this year by Gear Patrol.
More online-only retailers have been expanding into physical retail lately after finding it unsustainable to sell products only on the web.
Allbirds and Warby Parker, two of the biggest names in direct-to-consumer retail, have both made physical stores a big part of their strategy, according to CNBC.
Leap is not the first company that has tried to operate as a middleman in bringing direct-to-consumer brands to the mall. While Leap is different in that it facilitates full real estate relationships and allows stores to launch their own branded storefronts, the concept is somewhat reminiscent of b8ta.
In 2015, b8ta launched as a “retail-as-a-service” platform, charging otherwise online-only brands to have their products showcased in b8ta’s brick-and-mortar outlets, which were often in shopping malls. B8ta closed down all of its U.S. operations earlier this year.
- Simon and Leap Team Up to Bring Digitally Native Brands to Bricks-and-Mortar – PR Newswire
- Our Stores – Leap
- True Classic Tees, Tested: Are They Worth It? We Found Out – Gear Patrol
- B8ta shutters U.S. operations after failing to reach a deal with landlords – Modern Retail
- Why digital retail darlings Warby Parker and Allbirds are betting big on stores to grow ahead of public debuts – CNBC
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What does it take for digital native brands to be successful in brick-and-mortar environments? Are there benefits for direct-to-consumer brands opening in stores compared to standalone stores?