Shawn Massey, CCIM, SCLS


I hope everyone has had a great week! 2013 will be a great year.
Can We Tamp Down The Document Negotiating Fire And Just Get The Deal Done?
By Ira Meislik
Industrial side of Memphis’s Nonconnah Corporate Center draws, keeps tenants
By Thomas Bailey Jr.
To Lease or not to Lease?
That is the question corporate managers must answer.
by Christopher H. Volk
The Case for Walkability as an Economic Development Tool
Shelby County to hold first property tax sale of the year [The Commercial Appeal, Memphis, Tenn.]
Mississippi channels thirsty for relief
‘Effective shutdown’ of river could last for several weeks
Memphis Business Journal by Andy Ashby, Staff writer
CRE Technology Predictions for 2013
For Target And Kohl’s, Ho-Hum Holidays
by Sarah Mahoney
Technology Outlook: Where Is Technology Taking the Real Estate Industry?
by Ron Nyren
10 Big Retail Trends from the 2012 Holiday Shopping Season by Brad Tuttle
Cerberus Close to Supervalu Deal
Cerberus Capital Management LP and Supervalu Inc. are close to a deal in which the buyout firm and its partners will buy some parts of the grocer and take a stake in others, a person with knowledge of the plan said.
Rather than a straightforward buyout, which was earlier considered, Cerberus is close to buying some parts of Supervalu and taking a stake the remainder, which is expected to remain public, the person said. As currently envisioned, Cerberus would contribute around $500 million in equity, the person said, several hundred million less than initially discussed.
The deal structure is designed in part to bridge a gap between how much cash Cerberus was willing to put up and the amount of cash that banks arranging financing for the deal have wanted Cerberus to commit.
A deal could be announced as soon as next week, said the person, who added that terms weren’t final and a deal could still fall through.
Cerberus and its partners in the potential deal, a group of real-estate firms, months ago began seeking financing from banks and planned to invest equity of about $800 million for a deal for the whole company. Banks, which consider the unprofitable chain to be a high-risk investment, at one point pressed Cerberus and its partners to put up closer to $1.3 billion, some people familiar with the matter said.
Eden Prairie, Minn.-based Supervalu, parent company to chains such as Shaw’s in New England, Jewel-Osco in Chicago and Shop ‘n Save in St. Louis, put itself up for sale this past summer amid growing losses and discounts to customers that had yet to drive up sales.
Much of Supervalu’s appeal to Cerberus and its partners lies in its Albertsons chain. In 2006, a Cerberus-led group acquired more than 650 underperforming Albertsons stores as part of a larger deal to dismantle that grocer, Albertsons Inc. In the broader deal, Supervalu acquired more than 1,100 Albertsons grocery stores. Meanwhile, the company now known as CVS Caremark Corp. paid about $4 billion for Albertsons pharmacies, stores that have since been renamed.
Cerberus, with a long history of turning around troubled businesses, would like to reunite the Albertsons chain, combining its business, Albertson’s LLC, with Supervalu’s stores, according to people familiar with the matter.
Other firms have expressed interest in buying pieces of Supervalu if the deal with Cerberus were to fall through, people familiar with the matter have said.
Write to Sharon Terlep at
Shelby County real estate road show educates investors
By Linda A. Moore
From the Desk of Al Taf
Net Leased Outlook Fourth Quarter 2012

Over the past few years, retailers have launched initiatives to capture a limited amount of consumers’ retail dollars by expanding hours and moving into infill locations. Fast-food chains have added breakfast menus and expanded discount-menu offerings, while dollar stores aggressively moved into spaces left dark by the bankruptcy of Circuit City and downsizings among several other major brands. Next year will likely mark a transition between expanding market share and opening locations in new markets

Net-Leased Retail Market Overview

Auto-Part Retailers: The resurgence of auto sales could soften demand for replacement parts as new cars are covered under warranty. Auto-part retailers that focus on after-market parts will likely fare better during the next few months.

Big-Box Retailers: Electronics stores such as Best Buy have been particularly susceptible to online competition, resulting in a 4.1 percent decline in employment at these retailers over the past 12 months.

Dollar Stores: Investors will remain cautious about which locations justify higher prices and lower cap rates.

Drugstores: The investment market is changing in the drugstore arena, which could put further pressure on cap rates.

Quick-Service Restaurants: Most fast-food restaurants change hands in the low-7 percent range, though buyers can usually elevate their returns by targeting franchisee operators with large portfolios or corporate-backed locations in secondary markets.

To receive the STNL Fourth Quarter 2012 report, email to

Consumer confidence rises on hiring advance
January 3, 2013 Washington, D.C. — A report released Thursday by Bloomberg showed that consumer sentiment climbed last week and U.S. companies added more workers than projected in December.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index rose to minus 31.8 in the period ended Dec. 30, its highest since April, from minus 32.1 a week earlier, according to the report. Figures from the ADP Research Institute showed a 215,000 increase in employment, the largest since February, while the Labor Department said more Americans filed claims for jobless benefits last week.

REITs Gained in 2012 on Economy, Housing
January 1, 2013 Bolstered by a strengthening economy and improving housing market, real-estate stocks capped off 2012 with robust returns that outpaced the broader stock market.

The Dow Jones Equity All REIT Index, which tracks 136 real-estate investment trusts, delivered a total return of nearly 20% for 2012, more than double the 7.5% gains in 2011 and the fourth consecutive year that REITs outperformed the Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index, which gained 16% in 2012. The Dow Jones Industrial Average also lagged behind REITs, posting a total return just over 10%.

Slow growth expected to continue locally in 2013
December 31, 2012 The Victor Valley is expected to continue growing slowly in 2013 thanks to the economic recovery nationwide and in other parts of Southern California, according to local commercial real estate brokers.

Economic recovery in Southern California usually begins in urban areas along the coast and spreads like a wave, said Donald Brown, president of Lee & Associates Commercial Real Estate Services. When the market gets saturated and pricey in these areas, businesses start migrating inland or eastward in search of a cheaper place to operate.

Report: Online sales jump 22.4% on Christmas Day
December 28, 2012 New York City — Online sales rose 22.4% on Christmas Day, according to IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark, which tracks more than 1 million e-commerce transactions a day from 500 U.S. retailers.

The increase was higher than the 16.4% increase in 2011, and provided one bright spot in what has proven so far to be a lackluster holiday shopping season.

ShopperTrak: Retail sales, traffic increased week-over-week
December 27, 2012 Chicago — A report issued Thursday by ShopperTrak found that last-minute shopping activity drove large increases in both retail sales and foot traffic last week.

ShopperTrak reported that for the week ending Dec. 22, sales increased 39.1% and traffic increased 32% compared to the previous week. Compared to the same week last year, however, retail sales declined 2.5% and foot traffic declined 3.3%.

Consumer confidence tumbles in December
December 27, 2012 Washington, D.C. — A report issued Thursday by the Conference Board said that its consumer confidence index fell sharply in December to 65.1 from 75.1 in November, impacted by fears of tax increases and impending government spending cuts.

The fall in confidence is the second straight decline and the lowest level since August.

Wall Street drops in thin session, led by retailers
December 26, 2012, Trading was light, with volume at a mere 4.01 billion shares traded on the New York Stock Exchange, the Nasdaq and NYSE MKT, well below the daily average so far this year of about 6.48 billion shares. The day’s volume was the lightest full day of trading so far in 2012. Many senior traders were still on vacation during this holiday-shortened week and major European markets were closed for the day.

Many investors said concerns about the “fiscal cliff” kept shoppers away from stores, suggesting markets may struggle to gain any ground until that issue is resolved. The CBOE Volatility Index .VIX or VIX, Wall Street’s favorite barometer of investor anxiety, rose 4.46 percent, closing above 19 for the first time since November 7.

US retailers report weakest holiday sales since 2008
December 26, 2012,WASHINGTON – U.S. holiday retail sales this year were the weakest since 2008, when the nation was in a deep recession. In 2012, the shopping season was disrupted by bad weather and consumers’ rising uncertainty about the economy.

A report that tracks spending on popular holiday goods, the MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse, said Tuesday that sales in the two months before Christmas increased 0.7 percent, compared with last year. Many analysts had expected holiday sales to grow 3 to 4 percent.

Online sales up in November, traffic down
December 21, 2012 Online sales have continue to break new records this holiday season even though traffic to top retail sites during November was down compared to the same month the prior year.

Online measurement firm comScore Media Metrix released its top 50 Web properties report for November 2012 and it showed traffic at Walmart, Target, Best Buy and Sears were below prior year levels. The firm showed with 55.8 million unique visitors compared to 58.5 million unique visitors during November 2011. Walmart was ranked 18th on the top 50 list both years. Conversely, 6th ranked was shown to have 116 million unique visitors in November 2012 compared to 112.8 million last year. Walmart was not alone in reporting a decline in web traffic during November. Only three other retailers made the top 50, including Target ranked 28th with 37.3 million unique visitors, Best Buy ranked 31st with 35.7 million unique visitors and Sears ranked 43 with 28.9 million visitors. All three saw a decline from November the prior year when Target had 40.1 million visitors, Best buy had 36.5 million visitors and Sears had 31 million visitors.

Apparel Stores

Gap to Buy Luxury Retailer Intermix
January 2, 2013, Gap Inc, is buying women’s fashion boutique Intermix Inc. for $130 million, a deal that will give the mostly casual-clothes retailer an opening to the all-important luxury market.

The acquisition is the first in half a decade for Gap, which is coming off a string of rare fashion successes that boosted its sales and stock price last year.

Department Stores

Macy’s to close six locations, open nine others
JANUARY 3, 2013 Cincinnati — Macy’s on Thursday announced what it described as “normal-course adjustments” to its portfolio of Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s stores that include shuttering six locations (all in early spring 2013) and opening nine others.

In addition to closing its Bloomingdale’s Fashion Show Home Store in Las Vegas, the company will close Macy’s stores in Paseo Colo., Pasadena, Calif.; Belmont, Mass., downtown Honolulu; downtown St Paul, Minn.; and downtown Houston.

TJX acquires online retailer Sierra Trading Post for $200M
December 21, 2012, The TJX Cos. Inc. has acquired off-price Internet retailer Sierra Trading Post for approximately $200 million.The purchase comes as TJX, the Framingham-based owner of the off-price clothing and home decor chains T.J. Maxx, Marshalls and HomeGoods, has been developing e-commerce plans for its own brands.

The Cheyenne, Wyo.-based Sierra, a privately held company that also sells clothing and home furnishings, launched its online sales site in 1999 and has grown it to more than $200 million in annual revenue, according to TJX. The business is profitable and employs about 700 workers, TJX said.

Drug Stores

Walgreens Q1 profit falls
December 21, 2012 New York — Walgreens fiscal first-quarter earnings dropped nearly 26% as costs tied to a couple big deals and Hurricane Sandy helped put a bigger-than-expected dent in the chain’s performance.

Walgreens earned $413 in the quarter million, compared with net income of $554 million in the year-ago period. Sales fell 4.6% to $17.32 billion, with same-store sales down 8%.

Rite Aid swings to profit in Q3, lifts forecast
December 20, 2012 Camp Hill, Pa. — Rite Aid Corp. reported Thursday a profit of $60.5 million for the quarter ended Dec. 1, compared with a year-earlier loss of $54.5 million and marking the first time since quarter-ended May 2007 that the drugstore retailer has turned a profit.

Rite Aid also raised its forecast for the year, abandoning earlier forecasts of a loss for the year and instead suggesting that the company may turn an annual profit.

Home Improvement & Office Products


Quick-Service Restaurant Industry Eyes $188 Billion Growth in 2013
December 28, 2012, Quick-service restaurants (QSR) will earn an estimated $188.1 billion throughout the United Stated in 2013, according to the National Restaurant Association’s (NRA) 2013 Restaurant Industry Forecast. The $188 billion figure would represent a 4.9-percent improvement compared to 2012.

The NRA predicted revenues in the entire restaurant industry will reach $660 billion next year, or $1.8 billion a day, making it larger than 90 percent of world economies.

Darden to retool marketing after 2Q sales miss
December 20, 2012 Darden Restaurants, Inc. reported lackluster second-quarter earnings on Thursday, which the company said were the result of fruitless promotions at its three largest brands and the media’s coverage of the company’s healthcare analysis targeting full-time employees.

Orlando-based Darden reported $1.96 billion in revenue for the second quarter ended November 25, a 0.7-percent increase year over year. Net earnings for the quarter fell short at $33.6 million, or 26 cents per share, from $53.7 million, or 40 cents per share the prior year.

Dollar Stores, Warehouse Club & Other Retailers

Costco December Sales Top Estimates
January 3, 2013 ISSAQUAH, Wash. — Costco Wholesale here on Thursday said same-store sales increased by 9% in December — a figure that exceeded analyst estimates of 6.2% growth. Comps in U.S. stores improved by 8%, Costco added.

The membership warehouse club said sales growth was driven by positive same-store sales in all categories, led by food and sundries and aided by slight price inflation. Costco also said fresh food sales improved behind increases in produce and deli and in spite of slight deflation in meats.

Family Dollar posts lower profit in Q1; 500 stores planned
JANUARY 3, 2013 Matthews, N.C. — Family Dollar Stores Inc. reported Thursday a profit of $80.3 million for the quarter ended Nov. 24, compared with $80.4 million in the year-ago period.

The company said that higher sales on everyday items like cigarettes and soft drinks put pressure on margins. Net sales increased 12.7% to $2.42 billion in the period, and same-store sales grew 6.6%.

Bed, Bath & Beyond Q3 profit up
December 21, 2012 New York — Third quarter same store sales at Bed Bath & Beyond were negatively affected by Hurricane Sandy, but the nation’s leading home good retailer still managed to grow profits.

Bed, Bath & Beyond said net income for the third quarter ended Nov. 24, increased 1.8% to $233 million. Sales increased 15.3% to $2.7 billion, largely due to two acquisitions earlier in the year, while same store sales advanced 1.7% and were negatively affected by an estimated .9% due to Sandy.
Whole Foods Top Food Retail Stock in 2012

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Fred’s December sales disappoint
Restaurants Happy To Dodge A Fiscal Cliff Bullet
Restaurants See Plenty of Activity in 2012
From the ICSC
U.S. chain stores post solid holiday sales results
Despite the gloom-and-doom forecasts for the weakest season since the last recession, U.S. chain-store sales posted a solid 4.5 percent gain in December (excluding drugstores), following a weak 1.7 percent gain in November, according to ICSC Research. This was in line with ICSC’s growth estimate of between 4 and 4.5 percent and translated to a combined November-December seasonal gain of 3.1 percent (again, excluding drugstores).
“While the profile was more uneven between months, between weeks and between retailers, the overall aggregate performance was largely as expected,” said Michael P. Niemira, vice president of research and chief economist for ICSC. “Despite the worry of the slow start to the holiday season, sales rebounded in December as consumers took advantage of more shopping days this year compared to last. That last-minute shopping, coupled with post-Christmas bargain hunting and early gift-card redemption helped propel sales at the end of the month.”
Luxury stores were strongest, with an 8.6 percent overall same-store jump for December. Luxury retailer Nordstrom posted an 8.6 percent gain in same-store sales. Nordstrom said sales were particularly strong in the last week of the month, with children’s and women’s apparel and handbags dominating. Wholesale clubs also fared well, with an 8 percent gain overall (minus fuel sales) for December.
Meanwhile, department stores rose 4.5 percent. Macy’s Inc. reported a 4.1 percent same-store sales increase for December alone and a 2.5 percent gain for combined November-December. “While the rate of growth was somewhat less than we had expected in the first two months of the fourth quarter, it came amid some significant headwinds from uncertain economic news and the lingering effects of Hurricane Sandy,” said Terry J. Lundgren, chairman, president and CEO of Macy’s Inc., in a press release. “We believe we continued to gain market share.”
ICSC anticipates that sales in January will increase by about 3 percent (excluding drugstores).
Macy’s to close seven stores
Macy’s Inc. announced plans to close seven stores this spring. The units marked for closure include the 99,000-square-foot Bloomingdale’s Home Store at Fashion Show Mall, in Las Vegas, and six Macy’s stores around the country. Four of the marked Macy’s stores are located in downtown shopping districts: a 791,000-square-foot store in Houston; a 362,000-square-foot store in St. Paul, Minn.; an 80,000-square-foot store in Honolulu; and a 75,000-square-foot store in Belmont, Mass.
Macy’s will also close its 158,000-square-foot store at the Paseo Colorado mixed-use project in Pasadena, Calif., and consolidate its two stores at Ridgedale Center, in Minnetonka, Minn., into one store early next year. The smaller one at Ridgedale Center will be closed and acquired by the mall’s owner, General Growth Properties, for redevelopment.
Meanwhile, nine new and replacement Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s stores are currently planned and/or under construction. The chain announced plans to open a 25,000-square-foot Bloomingdale’s Outlet store this fall at Fashion Outlets Chicago, in Rosemont, Ill.
“We remain committed to operating a successful and growing stores business as part of our company’s Omnichannel strategy for serving customers wherever, whenever and however they prefer to shop,” said CFO Karen M. Hoguet in a press release. “This leads us to open new stores where we see the opportunity to fill gaps in important markets, as well as to make the tough decision to selectively close underperforming stores that no longer meet our performance requirements or where leases are not being renewed.”
Once the dust settles, Macy’s will operate 798 stores, including 37 Bloomingdale’s and 13 Bloomingdale’s Outlet stores.
Gap Inc. buys Intermix for $130 million
Gap Inc. bought Intermix Holdco, a multibrand, luxury women’s-apparel retailer, for $130 million. Intermix operates 32 boutiques across North America and an e-commerce site. Gap says it sees opportunity to expand the chain’s network of stores and to enhance the online site. “Intermix has a distinctive position in this growing market with clear competitive advantage,” said Glenn Murphy, Gap Inc. chairman and CEO, in a press release. “Their record of merchandising with a keen eye towards mixing multiple designer labels, complemented with exclusive product, is appealing to their loyal customers. This strategy reflects the strength of their brand vision and leadership team.”
New York City–based Intermix joins Athleta and Piperlime in Gap’s portfolio of acquired brands. “We’re thrilled to have found a partner that has the global scale and infrastructure required to support our vision for growth,” said Khajak Keledjian, an Intermix co-founder. Keledjian will stay on as the chain’s chief creative officer.
U.S. gift-card sales hit $110 billion this holiday season
Gift cards were at the top of many consumers’ holiday shopping lists, according to CEB TowerGroup. The firm is estimating that 85 percent of the U.S. population exchanged gift cards, which drove sales of these cards to $110 billion. The so-called open-loop gift cards offered by American Express, Discover, Mastercard and Visa, which can be used anywhere, were the most popular, according to the firm. Some $40 billion of these were sold this season, the firm says. Consumers spent some $19 billion on restaurant gift cards and about $36 billion on retailer gift cards, according to the firm’s projections. Electronic gift cards are less popular than physical ones, CEB TowerGroup says. Though sales of the electronic cards have increased over the past two years, projections are that they will reach just $3 billion for 2012, revealing that adoption has been slower than expected.
Gift-card recipients are getting more conscientious about how they use the cards. CEB TowerGroup reports that 75 percent of consumers will spend the full amount of money on the card and that 30 percent will spend $25 more than the face value, which is helping to lower spillage — the amount of card money that will remain unspent — to $1.7 billion.
“Consumers continue to flock to gift cards as a popular gift choice due to the variety and assortment of cards available,” said Brian Riley, CEB TowerGroup’s senior research director, in a press release. “Consumers can now more easily use all the funds loaded on their gift card, thanks to safeguards put in place by Title IV of the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure (CARD) Act of 2009, which severely restricts expiration dates and fees.”
Gift-card sales are rebounding after slow growth in 2008 and 2009, Riley says. CEB TowerGroup, which has tracked gift-card sales and use since 2006, suggests that the market will top $130 billion in sales by 2015, with electronic gifting sales set to grow from $3 billion in 2012 to roughly $16 billion by 2015.
Simon Property Group and Institutional Mall Investors, a partnership between Miller Capital Advisory and CalPERS, formed a joint venture to own and operate the 1.2 million-square-foot Shops at Mission Viejo (Calif.) and the 2.2 million-square-foot Woodfield Mall, in Schaumburg, Ill. Simon and IMI will each own 50 percent of Woodfield. Simon will own 51 percent of Mission Viejo, and IMI will own the rest. Simon will lease and manage the properties. Before this venture, Simon owned 100 percent of Shops at Mission Viejo and IMI owned 100 percent of Woodfield Mall. Shops at Mission Viejo is currently unencumbered, but the joint venture expects to place a mortgage on the property in the next two weeks. Woodfield Mall is encumbered by a $425 million mortgage loan that matures in March 2024 and bears interest at 4.5 percent.
Federal Realty bought the 438,000-square-foot East Bay Bridge shopping center, which spans two municipalities, Emeryville and Oakland, Calif., for $117 million. Home Depot and Target are anchors. The seller was undisclosed.
DDR purchased two Target-anchored power centers in North Carolina from Blackstone Real Estate Partners VII. The firm paid $106 million for the 852,000-square-foot Carolina Pavilion, in Charlotte, and $45 million for the 434,000-square-foot Poyner Place, in Raleigh.
Greensboro, N.C.–based Bell Partners sold the 183,500-square-foot Falls Village Shopping Center, in Raleigh, N.C., to New York City–based based DRA Advisors and Atlanta-based RCG Ventures for $23 million. T.J.Maxx anchors the property.
Safeway announced that CEO Steven Burd will retire in May, after 20 years with the company. Safeway, the second-largest U.S. grocery-store chain, has not named a replacement.
Polaroid is rolling out a concept called Polaroid Fotobar, of which it plans to open at least 10 stores this year. These stores will enable consumers to print and edit photos they save on a smartphone or upload to a social network. The first of these is scheduled to open next month in Delray Beach, Fla. The company is planning stores for Boston, Las Vegas and New York City as well.
Hedge fund Pershing Square Capital Management decreased its stake in General Growth Properties, becoming a passive rather than an active investor and ending a contentious period during which Pershing tried to force General Growth to put itself up for sale. According to an SEC filing, Pershing sold its warrants to buy 18.4 million shares of stock to General Growth’s No. 1 shareholder, Brookfield Asset Management, for $271.9 million. Pershing agreed to keep its stake in General Growth below 10 percent for at least four years. Pershing, once General Growth’s second-largest shareholder, now owns 8 percent of the common stock.
Delinquencies on U.S. bank-card payments fell to an 18-year low during the third quarter, according to the American Bankers Association, which tracks late payments for bank-provided credit cards and consumer loans. The association defines a delinquency as a loan that is at least 30 days overdue. The average delinquency rate fell to 2.16 percent of all accounts in the third quarter, from 2.24 percent in the second quarter.
David J. Oakes is the new president of Beachwood, Ohio–based DDR Corp. Oakes retains his current title of CFO and will continue to report to CEO Daniel B. Hurwitz. Oakes joined DDR as executive vice president of finance and chief investment officer in April 2007.
Cell Tower Development – How Are Cell Tower Locations Selected?
November 6, 2012 By Hugh Odom
Where Do Deals Come From – Another Look
January 3, 2013 by Chris Clark
Commercial Real Estate Vacancies Slowly Declining, Rents Rising
Greenline to Keep Growing in 2013
Restaurant chains to drive growth through nontraditional locations
Checkers Drive-In, Fazoli’s and Huddle House are partnering with retailers, convenience stores and travel centers
Jan. 2, 2013Mark Brandau
2013: The Year of Measured Retail
Retailers Hedge Their Mobile Bets
Local author Jerry Cunningham blends Memphis history into story? Blending fact with fiction
Seven placemaking wishes for 2013
Blog post by Robert Steuteville
Patrick Braswell: What does 2013 have in store for CRE
Battling to Win in an Hourglass Economy
Retail: Renovate and Rebuild
Pinpointing a Successful Retail Real Estate Location
Commercial Real Estate Leasing Guide:
The Coming Death Of The American Shopping Mall
From the Desk of Garrick Brown
Terranomics Retail Newsline
Week Ending January 6, 2013
The big news of last week was the fiscal cliff deal. Luckily my worst fears (as expressed in last week’s rant) were not realized, though policymakers did technically allow us to go off the proverbial cliff by not signing a deal until New Year’s Day. Unfortunately, one has to wonder how much this played into the timing of the deal. By taking us to the brink (and then, technically, over) some lawmakers could then go back and say that they voted for a tax decrease… as opposed to dealing with the entire issue responsibly and not risking the economic harm caused by the uncertainty being fomented.

Regardless, the stock market rallied on January 2nd instead of crashing and business confidence has increased. But while the worst short-term harm to the economy was averted by this deal, the compromise that was reached hardly resolved the problem. Our policymakers had a golden opportunity to show that they could work together cooperatively and reinstate some modicum of confidence into the business community. Instead, they showed that the idea of principled compromise in the current political environment is nearly impossible. Likewise, our policymakers had an opportunity to establish the kind of policy clarity that would have boosted the economy, encouraging investment and the kind of growth that would actually help to resolve some of the problems that have led to the issue of our massive federal debt. But instead, they showed their preference to flirting with disaster rather than just sitting down and working out a deal like adults. Bloomberg BusinessWeek’s cover this week got it right. It shows a shot of the Congress floor—the seats occupied by screaming infants: “BABIES.”

Worse yet, the deal they made didn’t do anything at all about federal spending. It barely reduces the deficit and merely sets the stage for even more future discord. I do believe that the worst economic damage was avoided, but Debt Ceiling Debate II will begin in a few weeks and it promises to be even more contentious than the first one. I don’t anticipate that the ugliness that will arise in this next round will be potentially as destructive as the fiscal cliff was… but I might be completely wrong.

The debt ceiling has nothing to do with the money that Congress votes to spend. The debt ceiling is merely the willingness to pay those bills already accrued. The debt ceiling used to automatically go up to cover the spending commitments that Congress had already made. Newt Gingrich led the charge to change this legislation in the 1990s. Until 2011’s ugly debate, no Congress had ever threatened to not raise the ceiling and pay the bills. President Obama has already indicated that he will not budge on negotiation federal spending cuts under the threat of U.S. default. Many House Republicans have already stated that they will not raise the ceiling unless additional cuts are made. And so within a few weeks we will once again have the ingredients for a classic standoff.

Should the debt ceiling not be raised and the U.S. begins to default on our debt, our sovereign credit rating could take a drastic hit (the ratings agencies have already stated that an ugly debate over this issue will almost certainly result in a downgrade to U.S. credit). If we actually begin to default, the interest rates at which we borrow to keep the government afloat will skyrocket. Such a move will be guaranteed to increase our federal debt by hundreds of billions almost instantaneously.

But it is because the repercussions of defaulting on our debt are so dire (much worse in the long-term than the fiscal cliff was) that I actually have confidence that policymakers will come to some sort of compromise on this issue. It will be much like the fiscal cliff compromise—ugly, last second and disgust-inducing… but the political backlash would simply be too huge. Perhaps the ultimate sign of this is the fact that Newt Gingrich, the man who led the charge to not allow for automatic increases in the debt ceiling, recently warned Congress that using the debt ceiling issue for leverage would be “a dead loser.”

And so, while I think that we will continue to see more policy issues creating economic headwinds, I also don’t think the damage will be as great as what we would have seen with no fiscal cliff deal. Ultimately, it probably is too much to hope that our policymakers would actually help the economy… but if we could at least get to the place where they are not damaging it, I will take it. Even in the midst of plummeting business confidence in December, the economy still managed to create a surprising 155,000 jobs. We were building momentum; we just need our lawmakers to get out of the way.

In the meantime, I can’t help but think the funk related to the fiscal cliff crisis has shaded coverage of the holiday sales season. Until final commerce department numbers are out, I am reserving judgment, but a quick review of some of the top articles of the week reveals every prognostication from sales being down more than 3% to sales were up more than forecast at 4.5%.

– Garrick H. Brown
Garrick Brown
Research Director, Terranomics

Terranomics Top Five
Last Minute Surge Saves Holiday Season—Sales up 4.5%
Detroit Free Press 01.04|

Full-season holiday report: Traffic down 16.4%, sales down 3.4%
Chain Store Age 01.04

12 CRE Predictions for 2013
Costar 01.02

CSNews’ Top 10 Predictions for 2013
Convenience Store News 12.28

Retailers respond as people return to the cities
Forbes 12.28

The Big Picture
‘Discount’ Retailers To Keep Fast Leasing Rate
Globe Street 01.03

Consumer confidence rises on hiring advance
Chain Store Age 01.03

Online sales set new record
Retailing Today 01.03

Outlet onslaught with 58 planned projects 01.03

Fitch: Stable outlook for US fast casuals, QSRs
Pizza Marketplace 01.02

Mobile registers, body scanners, digital wallets on retail horizon for 2013
Tampa Bay Times 01.01

Retailer Roundup
Macy’s to close six locations, open nine others
Chain Store Age 01.03

Family Dollar posts lower profit in Q1; 500 stores planned
Chain Store Age 01.03

Why Target + Neiman Marcus = failure 01.02

Grocery Grab Bag
United Supermarkets Grows Its C-store Footprint
Convenience Store News 01.03

The Restaurant Review
Carmela’s Pizzeria plans growth after acquisition by public company
Pizza Marketplace 01.04

Restaurant Chains to Drive Growth Through Nontraditional Locations
Restaurant News Resource 01.02

Tin Drum Targets Southeast for Growth
Nation’s Restaurant News 01.02

Bankruptcy/Closure Watch
Bakers in talks to sell shoe business
STLToday 01.04

Macy’s to close six stores in 2013
Los Angeles Times 01.04

M&A Mania
Actor Patrick Dempsey’s group wins bid for Tully’s
Chain Store Age 01.04

REIT/Investment Outlook
JV formation of Simon Property Group and Institutional Mall Investors, Forms for Mall Ownership, Operation
Globe Street 01.03

Thor Nearly Makes Record on Retail Buy
Globe Street 01.02

Retail Opportunity invests in grocery-anchored retail centers
Supermarket News 12.28
Demographics and Real Estate Demand
As Companies Seek Tax Deals, Governments Pay High Price
New York Times names Nashville next ‘it’ city
A golf course where Laurelwood sits?
Circa heads back west, Sekisui to take its spot
Crucial GIS Tactics for Retail Site Selection Analysis
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by dukelong on January 8, 2013
Real Estate Investing Success in the New Year
By William Bronchick, Esquire

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Shawn joined the Memphis Office of The Shopping Center Group in 2003 and became a partner in 2008 to focus on shopping center leasing and tenant representation. He has a Bachelor of Business Administration and an MBA in finance and real estate from The University of Memphis. Prior to joining The Shopping Center Group, Shawn was a Senior Project Manager for Cingular Wireless (AT&T) and was responsible for real estate development management, construction and implementation for wireless antenna and tower infrastructure for Tennessee and Mississippi. He is adjunct professor at The University of Memphis where he teaches the masters level class in real estate development and sustainability. In 2013 in will be working with Homburg Academy and University teaching on-line commercial real estate classes internationally. He holds both the CCIM and SCLS designations. Shawn engages in tenant representation, third party leasing/sales, investment sale and development consulting in the retail sector.

He is the co-founder and Chairman of the Board for the Memphis Business Academy charter schools (K-12th grade) in the Frayser area of Memphis. He is currently the 2013 vice-president of the Memphis CCIM chapter, 2013 Secretary/Treasurer of the MAAR Education foundation. He has serve on various charitable organizations boards in Memphis including Habitat For Humanity, the Binghamton Development CDC Retail Committee and Youth Visions. He is a member of Christ United Methodist Church. His wife is Price Phillips and he has two children Amanda and Matthew.

For all your retail real estate needs (tenant representation, landlord representation and property, investment & land sales) I hope that you will choose The Shopping Center Group and me to represent you and your business. We understand that representation is a privilege and that you have a choice!

The opinions expressed in this post are entirely my own. They should not be considered the opinion of The Shopping Center Group, LLC in which I am associated.

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