Costco Takes Manhattan; Banks Shake Off Toxic Loans (Friday's News & Notes)

It was a mixed bag today in terms of news for the retail real estat industry. Costco's announcement of its first store in Manhattan was encouraging. Wal-Mart's warning that we might be in for a lackluster holiday shopping season was not.

  • For some landlords, the break-down in leasing fundamentals is proving to be a blessing in disguise. Bloomberg reports that warehouse club Costco opened its first store in Manhattan , in East Harlem. Costco has been looking for a location in the city for years, but was finally able to close the deal because of a deep discount on the rent.
  • Those in the retail real estate industry, however, should brace themselves for the possibility that this downturn might last a while. When reporting its sales results today, Wal-Mart warned its customers still worry about spending money, according to The New York Post. That means the holiday shopping season isn't likely to be great for the retailers.
  • In addition, it seems the string of liquidations in the retail sector is not over yet. This week, ink seller InkStop filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, reports
  • Meanwhile, Forbes published a story criticizing private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts for getting too greedy on the Dollar General deal. KKR reportedly took millions of dollars in fees from the retailer's coffers before its IPO.
  • The encouraging news is that there is finally some movement on the real estate front. CoStar reports that institutional investors are beginning to buy class-A commercial assets. You can read Retail Chatr's reaction to some of the points the story makes here .
  • At the same time, some banks have begun to dispose of the most toxic real estate loans on their balance sheets, according to Money CNN. In a market where many lenders still prefer to "pretend and extend," that's a sign of a breakthrough.
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