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Real estate recovery ongoing

BY CSA STAFF

New York City — The real estate recovery is well under way, though not without some bumps, workout specialist Dennis P. Yeskey recently told a gathering of more 100 real estate professionals at the "Industry Spotlight: Finance — Global Trends in the 2011 Real Estate Capital Markets" discussion sponsored by NYCREW, the New York area chapter of the Commercial Real Estate Women network.

Capital is returning to the market and with few foreclosures, workouts will increase, said Yeskey, managing director of New York City-based global consulting firm AlixPartners LLP, at the evening event held at the offices of law firm Crowell & Moring LLP.

"The last two years have been unbelievably strange," Yeskey began, adding that this most recent recession was the fifth downturn he’d witnessed, and "a crisis that was a non-crisis. Unlike the other four, we [in real estate] weren’t the root cause of the problem."

Money is returning to the market faster than in previous recoveries, though it could take four years for employment figures to bounce back to pre-recession levels.

"Every recovery since World War II has taken longer to recover lost jobs," Yeskey noted. "It’s a normal function of a mature recovery."

New York will remain a major focus for the new wave of foreign investors, who perceive it as more affordable than other major cities around the world.

"I’ve never seen foreign interest in the United States greater," Yeskey said.

Apartments and hotels are seen as good investments, and infill retail remains positive, Yeskey said to the enthusiastic audience. The speech was his sixth annual industry preview for NYCREW.

The session was NYCREW’s first event of 2011 and kicks off a yearlong celebration of its 10th anniversary.

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Fresh & Easy bag design winner revealed

BY CSA STAFF

EL SEGUNDO, Calif.— Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market announced that it has debuted the winning design from its first-ever Design-A-Bag contest in its stores this week. The new reusable bag retails for only 79 cents and has already been a big hit with customers with thousands already sold. The bag’s creative design was hand-drawn by Los Angeles resident Josephine Close, who received a year’s worth of free groceries for winning the contest.

According to the company, the Design-A-Bag contest generated more than 1,300 submissions from customers and 24,000 votes by "friends of fresh&easy" – customers who have signed up to receive the latest news about the company along with exclusive offers at www.freshandeasy.com/friends.

"We set out to design a desirable and affordable bag people actually want to use and re-use, and we turned to our customers for inspiration," said Roberto Munoz, Fresh & Easy director of neighborhood affairs. "Based on sales of the bag already, we know customers like the design and the price point. We hope this new bag will continue to encourage customers to use fewer single-use bags in exchange for reusable options."

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Top 10 Trends for Retailers in 2011

BY CSA STAFF

The retail analysts at Standards & Poor Equity Research predict that 2011 will be a good year for retailers as consumer spending rises 3%, with sales boosted by the extension of the Bush-era tax cuts and the 2% payroll tax cut for all workers for one year.

"We think this ‘tax holiday’ will have a significant impact on spending, as the median income family earning about $50,000 per year will receive an additional $1,000 in its paychecks and those earning $106,800, the current limit of FICA taxes, and above will take home about $2,100 more this year,” said Marie Driscoll, group head of the Consumer Discretionary Retail analysts at S&P Equity Research.

In addition to the positive sales gain, the S&P analysts identified the following trends for retailers in 2011 and the medium-term future:

  1. Many retailers, such as Abercrombie & Fitch, Polo Ralph Lauren and Tiffany, will increasingly focus on international markets (especially emerging markets) to boost growth rates. Also expected: opportunistic domestic store closures for many retailers.
  2. Aggregate online retail growth of 10% as consumers increasingly migrate to online sites for convenience and value. At the same time, consumers are becoming increasingly channel agnostic.
  3. Mobile commerce will become more common, as demands by consumers to price comparison shop prompt retailers to enable Wi-Fi hot spots in their stores. In addition, sales clerks, like consumers, will also be empowered by greater access to information.
  4. Companies will likely rely more on social media, not only by responding to consumer complaints, but also to market products and unveil promotions.
  5. Consumers will increasingly seek out organic or green products that are better for the environment, but not at the cost of foregoing fashion.
  6. Retailers will likely increasingly cater to (and meet) individual consumer demands by providing greater service and marketing through the use of computer algorithms to analyze past shopping activity. My Macy’s, which now individualizes 1,000 mailings to its customers, is a great example of this.
  7. Continued bifurcation of the retail market with high-end luxury stores benefiting from the wealth effect and low-end stores being aided by value-seeking consumers.
  8. Consumers are always seeking new and exciting experiences. Retailers that are able to thrill, surprise, delight, and engage, will probably win.
  9. Retailers and brands will test the waters of mass collaboration, providing the consumer community input in product design. This further engages the consumer, and brings about a whole new meaning to the word "personalization."
  10. Coupons are fast becoming ubiquitous through increased connectivity. Be it online or on their mobile phones, more and more consumers are searching for coupons as a means for creating value from their purchase.

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williamson says:
Mar-30-2013 09:19 am

"We think this 'tax holiday' will have a significant impact on spending, as the median income family earning about $50,000 per year will receive an additional http://www.babul-ilm.com/ $1,000 in its paychecks and those earning $106,800, the current limit of FICA taxes, and above will take home about $2,100 more this year,” said Marie Driscoll, group head of the Consumer Discretionary Retail analysts at S&P Equity Research.

williamson says:
Mar-30-2013 09:19 am

"We think this 'tax holiday' will have a significant impact on spending, as the median income family earning about $50,000 per year will receive an additional http://www.babul-ilm.com/ $1,000 in its paychecks and those earning $106,800, the current limit of FICA taxes, and above will take home about $2,100 more this year,” said Marie Driscoll, group head of the Consumer Discretionary Retail analysts at S&P Equity Research.

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Mar-18-2013 10:06 am

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D.Spencer says:
Mar-18-2013 10:06 am

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