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Shopping Center Vacancies Inch Higher

The vacancy rate for U.S. neighborhood shopping centers inched up in the third quarter, and rents posted their weakest rise in four years, reflecting retailers' concerns about the economy, real estate research firm Reis said.

"There's uncertainty in the market about how consumers will react to the changing market conditions, how they'll react to the slowing market," Reis Chief Economist Sam Chandan said. "Retail sales are slower than they have been over the course of the cycle and that's certainly a concern."

"For the larger national chains and regional malls, it has yet to translate into a significant shift in the occupancy rate," he added.

The national vacancy rate for local shopping centers rose to 7.4 percent in the third quarter from 7.3 percent in the second quarter, according to the report released on Friday.

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