Roughly 180 million square feet of new shopping center space was built nationally this year and last, just as demand from retailers is slowing. The ICSC predicts that 6,500 stores will be shuttered by the end of 2009.
Commercial real estate starts will continue to weaken in 2008, according to a report by Standard & Poor's. The analysis by David Wyss, which appeared in BusinessWeek, did, however, note that construction spending should be higher this year. The downturn in the commercial sector has not garnered as much attention as the housing slowdown.
A push by Congress to bring rampant trading under control could backfire and drive funds to less transparent but more accommodative offshore markets. Many of the measures, including the largely symbolic legislation passed Thursday that orders regulators to "curb immediately" excessive speculation in commodity markets, come in response to rising food and fuel prices. "The idea is, 'Oh, let's go and do something to get those evil speculators out of the market.' Personally I don't think the reforms are going to do a whole lot of good in that respect," said James Angel, a professor at Georgetown University.
Ice Properties has broken ground on Ice Plaza, a 65,000-square-meter retail center in Arad, Romania. The center, anchored by home improvement store Baumax, will be the first Western European-style retail center in Romania outside of Bucharest.
Wal-Mart's new logo, which will better represent the chain's "refreshed" image and sense of purpose, will start to appear at store locations this fall, a company spokesman said. Reports indicate that the name will appear as "Walmart," without a dash or star, followed by a small starburst.