Outlooks On Back To School Season Vary; Westfield Mall To Feature A Grocery Store (Tuesday's News & Notes)

There have been some encouraging developments in the commercial real estate industry this week. For example, Forest City Enterprises managed to extend a $557 million construction loan for a Westchester County project, while Westfield has been securing non-traditional tenants to fill up vacant spaces at its malls. But it still seems to be an uphill battle: results for this year's back to school shopping season have been less than stellar and the holiday shopping season is not likely to be much better. We might be seeing sings of recovery in the retail sector, but it will be a long and slow one.

  • ShopperTrak reports there have been small gains in weekly sales this back to school season.
  • But analysts interviewed by Forbes offer a more pessimistic take.
  • Supermarket News ponders the impact of all the price reduction strategies supermarkets tried out this season.
  • Real Property Alpha posted another profile in its series on social media. This time the subject is David Stejkowski, the man behind the Dirt Lawyer's Blog.
  • Faced with hard-to-fill vacancies, mall owners have been discussing bringing in supermarkets as tenants for some time. Now, The San Diego Union Tribute reports that Westfield, which owns seven properties in San Diego County, has moved a supermarket into a former Robinsons-May space.
  • In another sign that the credit markets are gradually thawing, developer Forest City Enterprises secured an extension and modification on a $557 million loan for the construction of a mixed-use center in the New York region, according to Crain's Cleveland Business.
  • Some retailers seem to have faith this year's holiday shopping season will be better than the one we had last year. The New York Post reports that luxury seller Saks Fifth Avenue wants to avoid the massive discounts it offered last winter. The question is whether other luxury players will follow suit.
  • It's been a bad year for Starbucks. Supermarket News reports supermarket operators Stop & Shop and Giant-Landover plan to close 43 in-store Starbucks kiosks because of poor performance.
  • Meanwhile, upscale department store chain Barneys New York is also battling major problems. Its debt has become so unmanageable, the chain is considering filing for bankruptcy, according to Bloomberg.
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