Don’t expect to see retail development resume soon

You know all those empty lots where developers were going to put strip centers and shopping malls? You know all those projects planned for Oak Cliff? They aren’t going to happen anytime soon.

Most of the discussion in the Mainstream Media has been about financing these developments. Turns out, though, that’s only part of the story (as Wamre has noted here more than once.) The other obstacle is the retail business, which stinks.

Michael Exstein, who is a a senior retail analyst at investment banker Credit Suisse (the company that is more or less the Cowboys of investment banking) told a retail conference in Dallas yesterday: “It’s very odd that we seem to have stopped closing stores in this country even though business is so awful."

In other words, why would a retailer want to open a new store in a new development when there isn’t business for the stores they already have? Which means that even if developers can get financing for their projects, they won’t be able to find many tenants.



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