- January 1, 2010 Vol. 4 No. 1

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The Sun Is Rising: Better Times Are on the Way for the European High Street Retail Sector

by Xavière Roudeix-Crouan

Prime shop rents fell in 2008 and in early 2009 in most countries around the world for the first time in 20 years. But the deep recession has passed and brighter days lie ahead for the High Street retail property sector.

Just nine months ago, not a week went by without press coverage of another retailer in dire straights. Woolworths in the United Kingdom and Arcandor (Karstadt, Primondo, Quelle) in Germany are both emblematic retailers of this bleak period. Although the crisis represented a “coup de grace” for these two struggling retailers, their insolvencies are still representative of the most challenging times the industry has had to face in the past two decades.

Many retailers have been hit by the double blow of falling retail sales volumes and values, as they tried to persuade customers back into the shops with aggressive sales and rebates. This led to a marked decline in gross margins, a key yardstick for measuring retailers’ prof

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