Jason Ellis, Senior Company Counsel Staples Inc., Talks Retail

October 31, 2017

Real estate is one element of today’s successful retailer. Jason emphasizes that 21st century retailers need to find that proper equilibrium among bricks and mortar locations, online sales, and the supply chain in order to provide customers the experience they need and want. The real estate “secret sauce” of the right number of stores with the right square footage in the right markets is a recipe that is evolving faster than ever.   


You cannot look at these as simply pieces of real estate. For us, as a national retailer, it’s how do we best service our customers.

And honestly, real estate is just one tool in our tool chest with which we’re able to service our customers. We have a lot of small to medium-sized businesses where we want to be able to give them whatever they need to operate, and the retail store where they walk into around the corner is just one way they can do that. We’re a large internet retailer and we want them to come online, we want them to call their sales associate, and whoever best pulls that all together will win this retail game.

Retailers that are able to find that proper mix of how to integrate online sales with their retail footprint, with their logistics and supply chain, who can best utilize all of those resources to service their customers, they’ll win.  People always want the experience of going out to a store and purchasing what they need. Even if they go and look at it online and sometimes even if they can get a better price online, they still want that experience. And if you can give them that experience you’ll drive traffic to your store. For example, one way we do this is we’ll offer a product online, and we’ll tell them you might be able to get a better price in the store. We’ll drive traffic to our stores that way. So it’s a combination. Some means work better for certain customers than others. It’s a continuing evolution. It’s just going to constantly evolve. We will get to the–as most retailers will find–right equilibrium. Whatever it is for the right number of stores, the right markets, the right places within those markets, and the right size store. You’ve got to downsize both as to where you are in the country and then also what is the right prototype, and what’s your right square footage to service those markets. And that’s going to continue to change depending on what you sell, where you sell it, and who’s buying it.  That’s evolving faster than it has in the past, so you’ve just got to stay on top of it, and that’ll dictate the real estate metrics.

Have Questions or Comments?

If you have any questions, we'd like to hear from you.

More in This Series

Kenneth Weissenberg, Chair of Real Estate Services EisnerAmper, Welcomes You

The Real Estate Summit provides a forum for real estate leaders to learn what’s going on today and what the future may hold as well as make valuable, lifelong connections. Attendees commented that the event greatly influenced their real estate strategy.

Joe Berko, President of Berko & Associates, Makes the Case for Mitigating Risk

The U.S. is still a real estate safe haven and cash is coming here, but not as freely as it used to from places like China, Russia and South America. Because many parties are taking a hold position, Joe suggests strategies to get a solid yield.

David Gilbert, President and CIO at Clarion Partners LLC, Looks at Millennials

David talks about where the Millennial socio-economic group is now and where they might want to raise a family. Could an exodus to the suburbs - driven by Millennials’ search for good school systems - be on the horizon?

Paul Homsy, Principal at Noonmark Capital Partners LLC, Discusses Gulf State Investors

Paul gets inside the mind of Middle Eastern real estate investors. He notes that their goals of capital appreciation and cash yield are driving them to invest in secondary and tertiary U.S. cities such as Atlanta, Dallas and Denver.

Jeffrey Moerdler, Real Estate Partner at Mintz Levin, Tackles Security Issues

Former Commissioner of the Port Authority of NY and NJ, Jeffrey Moerdler focuses on the costly but necessary security issues surrounding both developing and operating properties as well as being realistic and proactive with security.

Your Passport to the Global Leaders in Real Estate Summit

Get a taste of what you’ll learn from our Global Leaders in Real Estate Summit video series. Our thought leaders talk about everything real estate, including security, Millennials, global investment, mitigating risk and more.