The news that Microsoft plans to open another 75 stores on top of the 11 it already operates in the US should come as no surprise.  Neither should the news that one of Amazon's businesses,, is planning a store in Manhasset, New York.

These will be the first of many such announcements that show the two faces of the internet.  Pure play internet retailers, along with multichannel players in categories thought to be on their way to being gobbled up by the internet, will start opening stores in shopping centers and CBDs.  They are recognising how important it is to market products in physical as well as virtual space, a thesis that Apple's 300+ stores has developed sublimely.

Shopping centre operators may want to think about how they can team up with internet players to make their properties more vibrant.  This need not only involve having them occupy space but also helping to drive traffic to other tenants in the centre.  Shopping centres will increasingly be part of the technology revolution rather than passive resistors.  

A number of factors, of which the internet is just one, are also combining to force shopping centres into reducing their dependency on fashion apparel.  At the present time, shopping centre specialty space is heavily loaded toward apparel (over 40 per cent in most regional centres anywhere you go in the world).  How much apparel in the tenant mix is "right" depends partly on competitive conditions in the specific market and partly on the quality of the tenants themselves.  Landlords could be drawing up a strategic merchandise plan for each of their properties that targets a specific maximum threshold for apparel, taking into account both anchor and specialty stores.