REAL ESTATE

Report: Shopping center vacancy rate hits 17-year high

BY CSA STAFF

New York City The vacancy rate at U.S. strip malls reached a 17-year high in the third quarter and mall vacancy was the highest in at least 10 years, according to real estate research firm Reis Inc.

The downturn in the U.S. economy, slow consumer spending and the U.S. housing bust severely hurt new retail properties, 30% of which were completed with less than 50% occupied, Reis said in a report released on Thursday.

“Our outlook for retail properties as a whole is bleak,” said Victor Calanog, Reis director of research. “Until we see stabilization and recovery take root in both consumer spending and business spending and hiring, we do not foresee a recovery in the retail sector until late 2012 at the earliest.”

The third-quarter vacancy rate at U.S. strip malls, which include local shopping and big-box centers, rose 0.3% points from the second quarter to 10.3%, the highest since 1992, Reis said.

Asking rent at strip malls slid 0.3% from the second quarter to $19.22 per square foot and are down 1.9% from the prior year.

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A.C. Moore hopes to ‘craft a better world’

BY CSA STAFF

BERLIN, N.J. A.C. Moore announced that it has launched a new initiative called “Crafting a Better World” to give crafters a way to give back to the community.

The initiative kicked off last week in honor of A.C. Moore Arts & Crafts’ 24th anniversary, with a partnership with Boys & Girls Clubs of America, a national network of 4,300 neighborhood-based Boys & Girls Clubs serving more than 4.5 million young people annually through membership and community outreach.

 

“Crafting a Better World takes our community relations efforts to the next level by adding an ambitious, new program through which we will collaborate with our customers to make a direct impact on the communities in which they live and work,” said Rick Lepley, CEO of A.C. Moore Arts & Crafts. “Our first Crafting a Better World partner, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, is an ideal fit for our company with its emphasis on kids, education and creativity. Our 133 stores will work with their local chapter of that organization to help their customers give back to their own community. As we move forward, we look forward to partnerships with other non-profit organizations throughout the regions we serve.”

 

During the next five weeks, A.C. Moore Arts & Crafts stores will be hosting crafting parties for participants in local Boys & Girls Clubs. During this same time period, the company is encouraging customers to drop off new or gently used craft supplies at their local A.C. Moore Arts & Crafts for donation to their local Boys & Girls Club. Customers can also add $1 to their bill at check out for donation to Boys & Girls Clubs of America. A.C. Moore will donate an additional $500 to the organization to honor its store which raises the most money.

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Family Dollar FY net income up 24.7%

BY CSA STAFF

MATTHEWS, N.C. Family Dollar Stores reported that net income per diluted share for the year ended Aug. 29 increased 24.7% to $2.07 compared with $1.66 for the year ended Aug. 30, 2008. Net income for the year increased 25% to $291.3 million compared with net income of $233.1 million for fiscal 2008.

“Despite the challenges resulting from a rapidly changing economic environment, our team has delivered a strong performance this year, driving improvements across most key metrics, including increased customer traffic, operating margin expansion, earnings-per-share growth, greater inventory productivity and higher employee retention,” said Howard Levine, chairman and CEO.

 

Commenting on the company’s outlook for fiscal 2010, Levine said, “While predicting near-term economic conditions remains difficult, we believe that the current consumer focus on saving money will remain strong in 2010. Our strategy of providing value and convenience positions us well to deliver sustainable growth for our shareholders as the economy stabilizes and improves.”

 

For fiscal 2010, the company expects net sales will increase 5% to 7% as compared with fiscal 2009. The company expects comparable-store sales will increase 3% to 5% and expects to open approximately 200 new stores.

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