Retailers -- who were hard hit by the recession with a wave of store closings and, in some cases, bankruptcy filings -- might be ready to rebound. Retail landlords say rents have stopped their downward slide and their tenants are reporting more optimistic outlooks.
In an effort to sidestep the discounting that marked the 2008 holiday shopping season, small retailers are ringing in the season earlier with merchandise and store displays aimed at enticing shoppers, while also keeping a close eye on inventories. "Because of the economy we said, 'Let's get the inventory out while there's money available,'" said the owner of a toy and gift shop.
RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust acquired a 15% stake in Cedar Shopping Centers for $181 million. The two companies also will create a partnership to buy properties in the U.S. that will be 80% owned by RioCan and 20% by Cedar.
Macy's and J.C. Penney are among the retailers planning to emphasize the importance of keeping holiday traditions, especially during the downtown. Revenue for the Christmas season is projected to be off by 1% this year, a slight improvement over 2008, when sales dipped 3.4% from the previous year, according to the National Retail Federation.