While Retail has not been a huge driver of our metro region economy the past two years, I’ve read two articles recently that indicate we may have some positive things to look for. The first article in the Portland Business Journal Friday, September 30 tells us that we have seen growth in the retail sector work force by over 2,000 workers this past year. That ranks 12th on the list of the top 103 largest retail markets in the country.
The other comes from Bill Connerly’s recent Businomics blog post dated the same day. Bill says over the past 12 months consumer spending has increased 4.5 %. Your question may be how could that happen with 9.1 % unemployment, the housing situation remaining so dire, and gas prices stubbornly high? He walks us throughthe facts that employment has grown over the past year, consumers have done a better job saving, and when you throw in some tax reduction from the federal government he believes employment will slowly improve, and consumers will continue to spend.
Progress may continue to feel agonizingly slow, and rates may not move dramtically to the upside. I will share with you from personal anecdotes of about a half dozen leases I’ve been working on in the retail sector over the past few months that many Landlords have become much firmer in their asking rates, and less willing to give significant concessions.
Many have been getting creative and partnering with existing succcessful tenants, in either expanding their current space, or assisting them in starting a new operation in a second property they may own in other parts of town.