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CEO DATELINE – Shopping mall association rebrands as ‘innovating commerce’ group

July 19, 2021
By Walt Williams

The International Council of Shopping Centers is keeping its initials but changing its name to Innovating Commerce Serving Communities, a rebrand coming as many shopping centers and malls struggle to survive shifting consumer behavior.

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In a FAQ on the group’s website, ICSC said it will continue to use its original name on formal legal documents but will not use the brand externally. Instead, the rebrand is about “reshaping what is traditionally called the shopping center or retail real estate industry.”

“We are more than shopping centers and malls,” the group said. “Our goal is to reflect how ICSC, our members and the industry have evolved and to demonstrate the broad impact we have on commerce, communities and culture.”

ICSC is a New York City-based association with an advocacy office in Washington, D.C. The group reported nearly $77 million in revenue in its most recent tax filing. Shopping malls and centers have long made up the core of its membership although CEO Tom Magee told Bloomberg News its member base has expanded to include technology startups and real estate service providers.

“This is more than just a rebrand,” Magee told the news site. “For me, it reflects what’s happening across the industry and within our membership, and we’re evolving with the industry.”

E-commerce is one of the biggest threats to the shopping center business model, Bloomberg reported. The COVID-19 pandemic also forced many mall tenants to close for good. Nearly a quarter of the roughly 1,000 malls in the U.S. are expected to permanently close by 2025.

ISCS produces several in-person and virtual events. The group said it plans to evolve its event content to better fit its new brand but didn’t provide any details.