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10 Must Read Items for CRE Industry Today (May 21, 2019)

Dressbarn will close 650 stores, reports the New York Post. The New York Times looks at the trend of blue collar workers moving out of big cities. These are among today’s must reads from around the commercial real estate industry.

  1. Dressbarn Going Out of Business, Plans to Shutter 650 Stores “Ascena Retail Group said on Monday it would wind down its women’s budget clothing chain, Dressbarn, shutting about 650 stores in the United States, as it sharpens its focus on profitable brands. Ascena’s shares, which have more than halved this year, were up about 3 percent in extended trading. The company, which also houses fashion brands Ann Taylor and Lou & Grey, said the move would strengthen its overall financial performance.” (New York Post)
  2. Real Estate Stocks in High Demand as Trade Battle Brews “Many investors are turning to real-estate stocks as a safe haven during the U.S.-China trade dispute that has been whipsawing the stock market. Real-estate investment trusts—shares of companies that own office towers, hotels, shopping malls and other commercial properties—offer investors exposure to businesses that are geared toward the domestic market. That makes these companies less vulnerable to disruptions in global supply chains from the tariffs that Washington and Beijing are imposing on each other’s economies.” (Wall Street Journal, subscription required)
  3. Why Workers Without College Degrees Are Fleeing Big Cities “Last month the Census Bureau confirmed a confounding dynamic taking hold across the American landscape: Superstar cities, the nation’s economic powerhouses, hotbeds of opportunity at the cutting edge of technological progress, are losing people to other parts of the country. For the first time in at least a decade, 4,868 more people left King County, Wash. — Amazon’s home — than arrived from elsewhere in the country.” (The New York Times)
  4. Macerich Exec Says “the Retail Apocalypse is a Good Thing” “As e-commerce continues to kill brick-and-mortar stores, some landlords appear to be embracing the new reality for retail. ‘The retail apocalypse is a good thing,’ said Jesse Franklin, the vice president of investment and innovation at retail giant Macerich, during a panel Monday at the International Council of Shopping Centers convention in Las Vegas.” (The Real Deal)
  5. This New Tech Can Turn Any Home into a Retirement Home “For 40 years, Vicky and Kyle have lived in their suburban home. The house is where they’ve collected a lifetime of memories. Every square foot of their three-bedroom split-level is a monument to their shared life’s work. But the aging couple now finds this symbol of their shared success is becoming a challenge. Vicky and Kyle’s unspoken strategy is divide and conquer. Kyle takes the lead on yard work, car maintenance and appliance repairs. He can still do most jobs around the house. But certain tasks, like seasonally hauling out the ladder to change the batteries of the dozen smoke alarms scattered throughout the house, have gone from rituals to major chores.” (MarketWatch)
  6. Special Incentive for Property Buyers: A Foreign Passport “So far, at least 14 countries have programs that offer visas or passports to foreigners who buy real estate, according to research by Henley & Partners, a British-based law firm that specializes in helping people looking such programs, and The New York Times. Montenegro will soon become the 15th, and the British overseas territory of Anguilla is planning to follow suit. Many more countries, including the United States and 20 of the 28 European Union members, are offering residence visas, which can often lead to passports, to foreigners willing to invest in non-property business ventures.” (The New York Times)
  7. Urban Outfitters to Start Renting Clothes “Urban Outfitters Inc. is jumping into clothing rental, trying to tap one of the fastest-growing areas of fashion without discouraging people from shopping at its stores. The company, which owns the namesake chain along with Free People and Anthropologie stores, is launching an $88 monthly service in the summer that allows shoppers to borrow six items from those brands and outside labels like Gal Meets Glam and Reebok, as well as vintage pieces sourced from flea markets and dealers.” (Wall Street Journal, subscription required)
  8. Why Short-Term Rentals Are Real Estate Investing’s Future “One of my favorite ways to invest in real estate is through short-term rentals (STR). Websites like Airbnb, HomeAway and VRBO are gaining market share each year as people become more familiar with the process. We’re still in the beginning stages of this type of investing. If you are an early adopter, there is a huge opportunity to maximize your ROI.” (Forbes)
  9. J.C. Penney CEO Jenn Soltau: ‘There’s No Silver Bullet’ and Turnaround to Take Time “J.C. Penney began a pivotal year under new management with a bigger sales decline and wider loss than analysts expected, but chief executive officer Jill Soltau said the Plano-based department store has ‘made solid progress acting swiftly, but thoughtfully.’ The transformation of 117-year-old Penney, ‘will take time,’ she said on a conference call Tuesday morning to review results. Saying she's not guiding on future performance, but it's been her experience that in a turnaround where many aspects go into ‘righting the ship, things can get worse before they get better.’” (Dallas Morning News)
  10. Grocery Industry to Change Look of Retail Real Estate “The grocery industry will undergo a significant transformation over the next 10 years, and the commercial real estate sector will change as a result, according to CBRE’s new report, U.S. Food in Demand Series: Grocery. Consumer shopping habits, industry competition and e-commerce will impact the size and shape of retail real estate owners’ portfolios, as well as the physical appearance of grocery stores.” (Commercial Property Executive)
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