U.S. shopping center industry grew to nearly 105,000 centers in ‘09

Las Vegas The U.S. shopping center industry grew, albeit slightly, to nearly 105,000 centers in 2009, according to the latest statistics from CoStar Group, compiled on behalf of the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC).

While both 2009 and the first four months of 2010 were sluggish in terms of growth in number of centers and total leasable area, CoStar said there is cause for an optimistic outlook on retail real estate during the latter half of 2010 when growth within the industry should pick up markedly.

Michael P. Niemira, VP, director of research and chief economist for the ICSC said that “this slowdown in shopping center industry growth -- the largest since at least 1971 for which consistent data exist -- was not surprising due to the 2007-2009 recession and the difficulty in securing capital from banks and other lending sources. But the prospects for the retail real estate industry appear to be improving and the sector, in time, will likely regain its investment luster.”

The CoStar research, which examined the size of the U.S. commercial real estate market and its segments, suggested “that the retail segment of the property market had the largest market capitalization ($2.98 trillion) at the end of 2009, more than office ($1.64 trillion); industrial ($1.07 trillion); hospitality ($895 billion); and multi-family properties ($1.40 trillion).”

In the recent quarter, retail sales climbed along with consumer confidence and recent employment gains of nearly 400 thousand jobs in April bode well for improvements in the retail sector in the months ahead, according to the research.

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