After attending the International Council of Shopping Centers' annual conference earlier this year, Drew Alexander, president and CEO of Weingarten Realty Trust, came away satisfied the retail industry's prospects -- or at least its mood -- were much improved since last year. "Most retailers I talked to were feeling much more optimistic. Many, in fact, were looking to expand and expressing concerns about space availability," he said. Changes, though, are apparent in the industry after the recession. He sees more service tenants as well as discount stores and quick-service restaurants.

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