This Week on The Street – March 15, 2011

by Harold Shumacher

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(A more or less regular compilation of news, factoids and observations.)

March 15, 2011

Tis the Season

No, not that one with the jolly fat guy in the red suit. That’s over.  We’re talking about the season for professional forums, prediction breakfasts and traveling experts’ dog and pony shows that we seem to be in the midst of.  Our national marketing organization Retail Brokers Network (RBN) is no different. At the just concluded Southeast annual conference, 25 of the sharpest retail real estate minds in the Southeast gathered for two days of pontificating, predicting and analyzing what’s been and what might be. Some of the highlights gleaned include a steady uptick in leasing activity,  a stabilization of rental rates and return to 2007 price levels for core trophy properties. The hottest categories for expansion, pets, fast casual dining and pre-teen ware.  Who’s in trouble the B’s-blockbuster and Borders.

The City of Atlanta  claims many accolades. Here’s another one.  The Georgia  fifth congressional district, represented by long time civil rights stalwart John Lewis,   has  the third largest number of restaurants  in the country, trailing only midtown Manhattan and San Francisco. Number five on the list the state of Montana (there’s one rep for the whole state.)

If the economy is truly improving the rich are leading the way.  According to data from Moody’s the wealthiest five percent of Americans accounted for 35.5 % of consumer spending in the third quarter of 2009, up from 28.5% in the last quarter of 2007, prior to the beginning of the recession.

It seems like everyone wants into the food business. Walgreen’s and CVS are both adding fresh products-such as veggie and sushi to their line up. Wal-Mart will open hundreds of small footprint grocery stores (30-60,000 square feet.) Quik Trip is also expanding their building footprint, adding almost 2,000 square feet per store for prepared products. In metro Atlanta, the company already has three commissaries preparing fresh products daily. Some malls are also getting into the act adding weekly farmer’s markets to their line up of attractions. The reason.  Grocery stores pull in shoppers almost nine times a month, three times as often as malls do, according to trade groups.

Talk about a “do over.” Burger King’s recently hired CEO described British women as ugly and the food terrible in a recent interview. His knowledge comes from his days as a student at the University of Warwick.

A tip of the hat to the following clients and buyers on successful openings or recent acquisitions:        Monkey Joe’s, Lawrenceville: …..Ken Eddleman new owner of Quincy’s Toccoa, David Johnson new owner of the Kirkwood Pub… and…  Ted McMillan on the recent acquisition of Mama Maria’s Italian Grill in Covington,Ga.

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