Survey: Retailers plan to open more stores due to lower rents

Los Angeles -- A report released Tuesday by commercial real estate firm C.B. Richard Ellis said that 59% of U.S. retailers plan to open more stores due to the attractive rental rates available in the current market environment.

According to CBRE’s second annual “Shop Talk - A Retailer’s Perspective” survey, luxury, wholesale clubs and discounters are slated to be the biggest expanders. “Our survey shows a significant number of retailers will be taking advantage of an opportune time for growth due to compelling rent levels -- luxury goods, wholesale clubs and discounters in particular are expected to continue to expand,” said Anthony Buono, executive managing director of CBRE Retail Services in the Americas.

The report also found that 93% of the retailers surveyed are using social networks, such as Twitter and Facebook, to assist with the branding and marketing of their products, up from 70% a year ago.

The consensus outlook among retailers has turned more cautious with regard to the current economic environment. Only 27% of retailers in 2011 viewed the economy as improving as compared to 35% last year. However, 45% of retailers view the economy as stable compared with 35% last year, with 27% of retailers feel that the recovery has already occurred within their market segment.

Among the other findings, 94% of retailers have been able to negotiate tenant improvements in their leases, including landlord financial contributions toward building out their space, the term of the lease and the rights to terminate early.

Some of the risks that retailers cited as possibly impacting their businesses included unemployment (80%), the state of consumer confidence (79%) and higher food and energy prices (68%).

For the survey, the CBRE Retail Services team surveyed major retailers in June and July 2011 about their expansion plans, the lessons learned from the recent recession, what concerns they still have and what they foresee for the future.

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