NRF's Retailer Ranking; Trepp Data; Pier 1's Outlook; Challenges at Landmark Mall (Holiday Weekend Wrap-Up)

Coming back from the long holiday, here are some of news and notes from the past few days. Overall, it was pretty quiet.

  • The Llenrock Blog argues that developers deserve the next bailout considering the treatment that other borrowers have gotten from the government.
  • New data from Trepp LLC shows that there is now $40 billion bad commercial real estate debt. Altogether, Trepp says that at the end of June, 5.39 percent of the total balance of securitized commercial mortgages was under the control of special servicers, up from 4.92 percent at the end of May.
  • The National Retail Federation released its annual ranking of the largest retailers as ranked by 2008 revenue. A story and links to the rankings can be found here. An analysis of the list shows that discounters continue to gain ground while conventional department stores continue to slip.
  • Pier 1 CEO Alex Smith told shareholders that he sees"light at the end of the tunnel." The retailer's strategy of selling real estate and renegotiating rents has helped it emerge from financial troubles. And despite the difficult economic climate, Smith believes the company will return to profitability.
  • The Wall Street Journal looked at how some bold investors are venturing back into REITs. It's a look at how some groups, including private-equity giant Apollo Management LP and distressed-investment specialist Angelo, Gordon & Co., are contemplating REIT IPOs.
  • In a story that encapsulates the challenges many malls are facing, the Washington Post looks at the struggling Landmark Mall in Alexandria, Va. Like many other dated malls, the property was slated for a massive update and redevelopment to convert it to a mixed-use center. But those plans have been shelved. In the meantime, vacancies are rising and the mall's fate is in doubt.
  • Lastly, in international news, BR Malls raised $433 million from the combined sale of common shares in a public offering.
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