Retail Traffic

April News Roundup

Same-store sales in March fell 2.1 percent according to ICSC. Retail Forward, meanwhile, reported same-store sales were down 0.8 percent. That came after February same-store sales dropped 0.1 percent compared with last year according to ICSC, but rose 0.4 percent according to Retail Forward. Meanwhile, the Commerce Department reported that retail sales dropped 1.1 percent from February and are 9.4 percent below last March. That followed figures for February that came in better than expected. Sales fell 0.1 percent from February–less than what analysts had predicted.

Vacancy rates at shopping centers and malls hit new highs, according to data from Reis. In positive news, British retailer Topshop made its long-awaited U.S. debut with a New York City flagship.

Also, bankrupt grocer Bi-Lo was able to line up financing, as was troubled bookseller Borders.

Some restaurant chains are using the current downturn as an expansion opportunity, especially in cases where they can convert properties that belonged to other concepts. As a way of activating dead space, some malls have turned over vacant space to Flowriders, a contraption on which people can surf indoors.

Toys "R" Us, in an attempt to woo value-oriented shoppers, is experimenting with sections at the front of its stores selling items priced at $3 or less. Its “$1-$2-$3 Fun” shops will carry about 100 items at those prices.

CoStar reported on the growing phenomenon of land being made available by the closure of auto dealerships.

General Growth Properties, the second largest owner of mall properties, had a rollercoaster 30 days. It tried to seek forbearance from lenders. It later shuffled its executive ranks and got downgraded by debt-side analysts. Then it had some properties foreclosed upon. Eventually, the company had to admit it had failed to win a full reprieve from bondholders, although it has avoided filing for bankruptcy. Most recently, some bondholders have begun to seek a lawsuit against the company.

What was the total effect of Circuit City's disappearance? Try 22 million square feet. That's how much empty space the defunct consumer electronics retailer left behind.

Walgreen's purchased small New Jersey drugstore chain Drug Fair.

CBL & Associates Properties is experimenting with a shopping center users fee at a property in Florida. The fee—a 1.06 percent surcharge on purchases—will help pay for road, water and sewer infrastructure expenses CBL incurred in constructing the center with partner Benchmark Group.

Forbes ran a feature speculating about what retailers might close stores next. Guesses included Abercrombie & Fitch, Ann Taylor, Saks, Tiffany and others. Meanwhile, UBS predicted there would be a 10 percent reduction in the number of specialty stores at malls.

Lastly, Retail Traffic published its rankings of the Top Owners and Top Managers of retail real estate space. There was very little movement compared with last year's lists. And, as has become common, a number of retailers filed for bankruptcy or announced closures. Here’s a rundown of the announcements so far in 2009 when it comes to bankruptcies, liquidations and announced closings.

Bankruptcies and Liquidations:

Potential Bankruptcies & Liquidation Impact: 1,362 confirmed closures out of about 2,713 stores

Announced Closings
TAGS: REITs News Retail
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