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Report: Mall vacancies at decade high

BY CSA STAFF

New York City Vacancies at the largest U.S. retail centers rose to the highest level in at least a decade amid high unemployment and “inconsistent” consumer spending, according to Reis, the New York-based real estate research company.

“Until we see stabilization and recovery take root in both consumer spending and business spending and employment, we do not foresee a recovery in the retail property sector until late 2012 at the earliest,” Victor Calanog, Reis director of research, told Reuters.

Vacancy rates at shopping malls in the top 77 U.S. markets rose to 8.9% in the January-to-March period, from 8.8% in the previous three months and 7.9% a year earlier. The rate was the highest since 2000, when based Reis began tracking the data.

Average landlords’ asking rents at shopping malls during the first quarter were $38.79 per square foot annually, down 3% from a year earlier. It was the sixth consecutive quarterly decline.

Vacancies at smaller neighborhood and strip centers rose to 10.8%, the highest since 1991, up from 9.5% a year earlier and 10.6% in the fourth quarter. Effective rents at such centers, which are often anchored by supermarkets, fell to $16.62 per square foot, down 3.4% a year earlier and 0.8% the fourth quarter.

Markets such as Las Vegas and the cities of Tampa, Orlando and Fort Lauderdale in Florida posted among the highest vacancy rates or greatest rent decreases.

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RadioShack names new chief merchant

BY CSA STAFF

FORT WORTH, Texas RadioShack announced the appointment of Scott Young as EVP and chief merchandising officer. In this role, Young will be responsible for developing and implementing RadioShack’s merchandising, product development and allocation functions to support the company’s strategic focus on mobility, innovation, connectivity and personal service.

Young joins RadioShack from LodgeNet Interactive, where since 2006 he has been divisional president and chief marketing officer. Previously, Young spent seven years at Best Buy, where he held numerous positions within the merchandising function, including VP merchandising.

“We are delighted to welcome Scott to The Shack,” said Julian Day, RadioShack’s chairman and CEO.

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Report: Retail shows gains in March

BY CSA STAFF

PURCHASE, N.Y. According to the MasterCard Advisors’ SpendingPulse report, most retail sectors continued to demonstrate solid year-over-year gains in March as easy year-over-year comparisons helped produce positive growth rates. From a geographic point of view spending was positive across most regions of the country, the Pacific Coast being the exception.

Michael McNamara, VP research and analysis for SpendingPulse, observes, “Areas showing the largest year-over-year increases were online sales and luxury retailers.  In addition, all areas of apparel were also comfortably in positive territory.   Prices maintained their levels as inventories continued to be aligned with demand and retailers did not seem to have had to resort to discounting in order to drive traffic during the Easter shopping season.”

 

The e-commerce channel was up 18.4% from last year, its 8th consecutive month of double digit growth, demonstrating that the channel continues to grow at a faster rate than traditional brick and mortar stores.

 

Luxury sales posted a 22.7% year-over-year increase.  It is important to note that this is being measured against March 2009, a month in which we saw significant double-digit declines in this sector.

 

Specialty apparel Sales increased a solid 5.2% with strength across the board as every subsector posted positive year-over-year gains. Some of the strength in this category may be attributed to an earlier Easter this year, pushing much of the pre-Easter spending into March.

 

Overall electronics sales were up 4.9% year-over-year, posting a strong growth of 6.8% in the appliance sub-sector and a gain of 4.5% year-over-year for consumer electronics sales.  Tempering this, it is important to note that this sector is still down 4.2 % when compared to March of 2008.

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