Property Lines - Scott Olson

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Real Estate & Retail

At Vegas gathering, hope grows for a retail turnaround

May 23, 2010

cash registerThe nation's largest retail leasing confab began on Sunday in Las Vegas with a hopeful welcome from Michael Kercheval, CEO of the International Council of Shopping Centers. He gave three reasons for optimism: Consumers are more confident and less likely to hoard cash. Retail businesses are more profitable having shed expenses and underperforming stores. And there are few new shopping centers opening, meaning supply is close to demand. About 30,000 people were scheduled to attend the annual deal-making event, at which developers recruit tenants for their buildings and retailers eager for growth find spots to open in multiple markets. Stay tuned to Property Lines through Tuesday for updates on retail deals in Indianapolis.

There are other signs of a retail turnaround. Earnings reports from most publicly traded retailers have exceeded analyst expectations. And a survey of more than 100 retail executives by CB Richard Ellis found that 92 percent of retailers are planning to increase the number of new-store openings in the next few years. About 70 percent are feeling more confident about the economy. “The general sense is that the activity is certainly much more vibrant than it was last year at this time,” said Donna Hovey, vice president of retail in CB’s Indianapolis office. “What everyone is sort of bracing themselves for is: Is it real?”

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