“Cautious, but Optimistic” Becomes the Mantra at New York ICSC Show

The second day of the ICSC New York National Conference and Dealmaking offered many of the same themes that played out at the beginning of the show. The mood of the attendees seemed noticeably more upbeat than in the past two years and everybody walked around the show floor with a sense of purpose, ready to close deals and drum up new business. Some industry insiders even brought up the word “development”—nothing scheduled for next year, certainly, but there was some expectation that new projects would start popping up within 24 months.

“This show has been a lot better [than previous ones]. We didn’t anticipate it being as busy as it has been,” said Greg Maloney, CEO of Jones Lang LaSalle Retail, an Atlanta-based third party property manager.

At the same time, it seemed like most of the attendees had either completed all of their business on Monday or were wrapping up appointments by Tuesday morning. The hallways were a lot less crowded and many people were planning to take mid-afternoon flights back home.

Overall, people had a positive outlook on the industry’s growth prospects in 2011, but Maloney cautioned that some of those expectations might be a bit too optimistic. He predicts that the industry will likely have a strong holiday season, but momentum on both retailer sales and retail investment sales might slow down in the first half of 2011 (investment sales should pick up considerably in the second half of next year, he says). In other words, 2011 will look a lot like 2010—a sentiment expressed by a few seasoned industry professionals.

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