Hardest hit have been restaurants and high-end stores. Even when customers do sit down at a nicer restaurant, Del Monaco said, they're more likely to opt for water than wine with their meal.
“A lot of retail tenants have called me and said, â€˜I'm scared,' ” she said.
On the other hand, August sales were up at wholesale clubs and discount stores.
“There's a lot of uncertainty out there, with people waiting to see who gets elected president and the impact of that,” said convention attendee Harold Shumacher, an Atlanta restaurant broker. “People are very guarded.”
Despite the drop in attendance at this year's ICSC conference, he said, “The core constituency of deal-makers, landlords, developers and tenants will still be there because they have to be.”
“Those of us who are older have been through this before,” Schumacher said. “Sure, we're not happy about things being slow right now. But what goes up must come down. The question is, how long is the recovery going to take?”