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The Global Quest for Health Stands to Transform People’s Lives — and Retail Properties Too

The $4.2 trillion wellness industry grew by nearly 13 percent between 2015 and 2017. Fast-growing categories include fitness, beauty, personal care, anti-aging, healthy eating, complementary medicine and wellness tourism.

Photo Courtesy of ICSC.

The trend is part of a shift that could help change retail properties in lasting ways — and to make people healthier and happier to boot.

The diversity and rapid growth of franchise operators shows the strength of demand for health-and-wellness concepts in malls and shopping centers.

Health-and-wellness tenants are poised to take off internationally as well.

Another expanding fitness concept is Barry’s Bootcamp, which now operates 44 units across North America, Europe and the United Arab Emirates.

The consumer focus on health-and-wellness is driving demand for concepts that offer a lot more than just exercise equipment or cardio workouts, experts say.

Intravenous drips that allow for better absorption of vitamins, minerals and other substances are becoming more popular. Hydralive Therapy, Liquivida Lounge, The Hydration Room are some retailers that offer intravenous infusions.

The concept of sensory-deprivation “float” tanks continues to grow as well. These tanks are lightless, soundproof chambers filled with salt water kept at skin temperature.

Benefits include reduced stress, pain relief, improved sleep and whole-body muscle relaxation. The Urban Float franchise is now opening such studios around the country.

The membership model is part of the reason for the success of so many health, fitness and medical because members are committing to giving themselves that service each month.

By locating closer to customers, health-and-wellness tenants are also capitalizing on the demand for convenience. Globalization has also exposed us to different kinds of health. Now you can get your flu shots from the chain supermarket, and the drugstore actually has exam rooms.

The health-and-wellness push promises to be a game changer for such national drugstores chains as CVS and Walgreens. They’ve seen that there’s too much square footage in the store dedicated to general merchandise, which just hasn’t been selling at the same rate as in the past. When you run the numbers, the three biggest chains have millions of square feet that they need to repurpose.

Whether the movement toward health-and-wellness is a lasting change or just a trend remains to be seen. Meanwhile, their customers are healthier and have better options.

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