The latest on real estate recordings and new technology from the Middlesex North Registry of Deeds in Lowell
I hate malls, shopping and stores…that said, the latest news reported by the Wall Street Journal still concerns me. “Vacancies at retail properties rose to a multi-year high in the second quarter as retailers closed stores and curtailed expansion plans”(Wall Street Journal). The Journal attributes the problem to the slow down in the housing market (it amazes me how the housing market touches everything) and weakening consumer confidence. “Vacancies at enclosed malls in 76 major US markets rose from 5.9% in the first quarter to 6.3% in the second quarter, the highest level since early 2002…” (The Journal). Enclosed malls??? “Faring worse were the open–air retail venues such as big-box centers and grocery-anchored strip centers” (The Journal)…open-aired??? “Vacancy in those formats climbed from 7.7% to 8.2% in the second quarter”(The Journal)…I’m not an economist (or a shopper as I mentioned). But why would there be a difference between the open aired and the enclosed mall vacancy rate? Well, it seems that most enclosed malls are composed of a well established group of franchised stores (I’ll bet you could name a few), while open-air malls have more local grown retailers. These mom-and-pop retailers are usually less able to with-stand an economic slow down. The Journal is also reporting that several major retailers have decided to shelf their expansion plans…Kohls, Chico’s and Starbucks to name a few. It is unlikely the vacancy rate American malls will change in the next few years.
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