Five trends to impact retail facilities management in 2019

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

The top trends driving the facilities management industry identified in The Professional Retail Store Maintenance Association’s (PRSM) 2019 Trends Report include the growth of mixed-use retail, batteries in energy management, the increased number of restaurants and medical services in retail spaces, and blockchain technology.

A breakdown of the major trends in the retail industry that are impacting retail facilities management:

 Mixed-use and the retail renaissance

While older malls were built around apparel the new malls will be a retail and services ecosystem that includes residential space and multi-category retail, the report says. As malls become mixed-use developments and retailers add experiences, retailers must also morph into destinations that offer more than just products on a shelf.  Several major, established brands have already proven experiential retail works such as Apple, Samsung, and Amazon.

Retail facilities managers must adapt to smaller, ever-changing stores and still control costs for energy, maintenance, cleaning, and updates.

Restaurant in Retail

Restaurants and food services have proven they draw shoppers into retail stores and improve sales but adding food services to retail space brings additional health and safety requirements. Compliance with food health and safety laws is not optional and can add significant expense

According to a recent International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) report, one of the principal differences between standard retail environments and food services operations is technical requirements. While food services demand traditional services such as water, electricity, fire exits, and restroom facilities, technical requirements may include grease traps, cooking equipment, enhanced air handling and HVAC, cold and ambient storage units, waste disposal options for different types of food waste (food, glass, plastic and paper), numerous daily deliveries and waste collection pickups.

Medical Retail

Doctor’s offices, medical centres, pharmacies and other healthcare businesses are opening in shopping centres and in retail stores (often called doc-in-the-box retailers or medical malls). According to the annual  report eighty-nine per cent of enclosed malls now offer some type of healthcare service.

Something facility managers might not have experience in is maintaining medical equipment. While basic duties won’t change, the report notes that maintaining healthcare facilities often requires cleaning that meets specific, legal requirements, additional security and security procedures, specialized equipment repair/maintenance, hazardous waste disposal management, enhanced/ specialized lighting, increased energy usage.

Retail Energy

In retail energy management today utility costs constitute 35 per cent of retail operating costs according to PRSM’s 2018 Dynamic Benchmarking Report. Retailers can employ chemical, and refrigerated battery storage to cut energy costs, achieve sustainability goals and generate revenue. Battery storage can eliminate or reduce peak demand charges.

Blockchain & Retail Facilities Management

Blockchain is a database that maintains a continuously growing set of data records. It can impact contract management, work order processing and tracking, payment processing, and facility transparency.

We’re still in the early days of using blockchain as a technology but facility managers can benefit from using blockchain for things such as supply chain tracking, enhancing products history records, payment systems, just to name a few. Walmart has been working with IBM on a food safety blockchain solution to stop the spread of E.coli in lettuce and announced it will require all its suppliers to upload their data on the blockchain by September 2019.

The 2019 PRSM Trends Report is a review of the state of retail facilities management and key trends impacting leading retailers and suppliers. These trends are driving change across the industry and will require facilities executives adapt new strategies and tactics to succeed.

To read the full report visit

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