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- March 1, 2011: Vol. 5, Number 3

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The Last Hurrah: Harsh Times Are Coming to Retail But Real Estate Investors Still See the Sector As a Safe Haven

by Richard Fleming

Retailers have never had it easy. They have to deal with fickle customers — where GP stands for general public and LP for limited pursestrings — obdurate suppliers, stock management, margins and profits. And landlords. As late December 2010 across Europe proved, they also have to handle disastrous weather situations, reduced footfall and ravaged sales plans.

Add in the aftermath of recession, pay curbs, rising unemployment, higher inflation, lower consumer spending, a tax rise — as in the United Kingdom on 4 January 2011, with the fiscal austerity–induced increase in VAT from 17.5 percent to 20 percent — and a burgeoning feel-bad environment, and you can see that all might not be well in the world of retail.

Fortunately, retail property investors see all of that and more — and are still happy to build or buy the properties, arrange tenancy terms with retailers, and sit back in th

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