How coveted? According to a report by Lauren Thomas on CNBC, “Real estate developers like Macerich, Simon Property Group, General Growth properties, and Taubman are offering up-and-coming retailers flexible lease terms, helping them design their spaces and promising other sweetened benefits to entice them to move into their properties.” Short-term, low-risk leases? For small retail shops?! No, it’s not fake news! The balance of power has shifted. Today, these small, specialty retailers are the traffic-generators . Not the malls; not the department store “anchor tenants.” How did this happen? It’s all about the customer data. These internet-first companies know the characteristics of their most profitable customers, where there are more like them , and how to attract them. The malls are more than happy to do whatever it takes to have these kinds of retailers in their properties. And that creates opportunities for all savvy retailers. As we have long taught, every retailer can and should collect, analyze, and apply your customer data to all of your strategic decisions. And now, armed with that knowledge, you can approach any landlord with the offer of how the presence of your store (and your customer following) will help their property. 'What is it worth to them to have your customers coming to their center?' Treat your customer information as the valuable – and proprietary! – asset it is. It is truly the coin of the realm. One that even is recognized by landlords! At long last, the power to negotiate is rapidly shifting from landlords to savvy retailers. Be one!