What does a corporate retail specialist do?

Written by Tyler Kastelberg

February 15, 2022

Corporations like WalMart and McDonalds are some of the largest real estate tenants and owners in the country.  With the insatiable desire to grow, corporations with physical stores hire corporate retail specialists to look for the best locations and markets.

Like attorneys, some corporate retail specialists work independently rather than “in-house” at a big corporation. These professionals advise tenants, landlords, and brokers on retail transactions.

What are the day to day responsibilities of a corporate retail specialist?

A corporate retail specialist is responsible for finding and securing new store locations for growing companies. The day to day responsibilities of your corporate retail specialist could include:

  • Market Analysis:  Your professional will be confident leveraging investment criteria to identify new markets for expansion.  For example, you may only want stores in markets with 100,000+ people and a median income greater than $50,000.  With this information, your corporate retail specialist will identify potential markets that meet this criteria.
  • Location Scouting:  Within your target markets, your professional will look for specific properties that further meet your location criteria.  For example, you may require a certain square footage, with a certain number of parking spaces, loading docks, entrances, and signage.
  • Presenting Options:  Your corporate retail specialist will also be responsible for packing location options into a clear summary with strengths and weaknesses. 
  • Organizing Tours:  Your professional may organize property and market tours for you and your key stakeholders.
  • Negotiating Terms:  The negotation of terms and conditions for a lease or sale is arguably the most important part of site selection. This includes negotiating key terms like sale/lease amount, tenant improvements, lease term, rent bumps, and expense reimbursements. Your corporate retail professional’s job is to negotiate the best possible deal.
  • Coordinate Moves:  In some cases, your corporate retail specialist will also help coordinate moving into the new space.  This an include overseeing the buildout, purchasing furniture & computer equipment, specifying space layouts, and supervising moving day.

In addition to the above, your corporate retail specialist may be responsible for developing a “playbook” that allows them to repeat the site selection processes over and over again. This is especially important for big companies that open hundreds of locations per year.

When do you need to hire a retail specialist?

A corporate retail specialist is a pivotal team member when growing your physical footprint.

In large companies, like WalMart, Amazon, Target, Chipotle, and McDonalds, this is more than a full-time job.  In fact, these companies employ entire teams dedicated to finding new retail locations. Freelancers and outside consultants will be brought in from time to time for temporary needs.

However, small companies might use outside consultants and freelancers more regularly to support site selection and execution.

What differentiates a good retail specialist from a great one? 

A corporate retail specialist has an important role in the growth of a business.  A great corporate retail specialist possesses the following qualities:

  • Highly Analytical:  To identify promising markets and locations, the best corporate retail specialists are able to sort through large volumes of data and draw out key conclusions.
  • Technical Proficiency:  To sort through large volumes of data, the best professionals have a high level of technical proficiency. In addition, they should have the skills needed to navigate popular data tools like CoStar or commonly used public databases like the Census Bureau or Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • Tough Negotiators:  A corporate retail specialist is responsible for getting the best deals.  As such, the best ones are srategic negotiators.
  • Persistent:  Competition for the best spaces and properties can be stiff.  So, the best specialists are tenacious and persistent on behalf of their company/client.
  • Collaborative:  The retail specialist is typically part of a larger acquisitions team.  The best ones seek to build relationships with their colleagues, vendors, lenders, and developers.
  • Organized:  A corporate retail specialist may go through dozens of location options before narrowing them down to a handful.  Thus, the best are highly organized and have the ability to develop systems.
  • Legal Background:  They don’t need to be a lawyer (it doesn’t hurt), but the best specialists have a high level of familiarity with the legal terms and concepts.
Where can you hire a great corporate retail specialist?

It is possible to hire through the normal channels – job boards (Indeed, Zip Recruiter), search firms, recommendations, or active outreach.  While these strategies can be effective, they can also be incredibly time-consuming and the results can be highly variable.

At Bullpen, we specialize in helping commercial real estate acquisition and development firms find and hire the best freelance corporate retail specialists. We pre-screen the candidates, verify their experience, and handpick the best talent for your hiring needs … all within 72 hours.

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