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Optimism abounds at New York Show


Retail real estate developers and management companies are coming away from this week’s New York Deal Making show more optimistic than they’ve been in years.

“There’s some uncertainty following the election, but the stock market is up, the holiday’s been strong, and consumer confidence is high,” said CBL CEO Stephen Lebovitz at the International Council of Shopping Centers show, whose aisles were crammed with some 10,000 attendees.

Starwood Retail Partners CEO Scott Wolstein noted that, while brick-and-mortar retail has been undergoing a difficult transition, its health is misrepresented in the media.

“There’s a huge amount of misinformation about retail in the news. All the media seems to write about is Internet sales, which is a small percentage of the total sales number,” Wolstein said. “And the accounting is flawed. If a consumer buys something online and returns it at a physical store, it’s credited as an online sale while the sale price is deducted from the store’s sales totals.”

PREIT CEO Joseph Coradino is upbeat about his company’s $575 million co-project with Macerich to transform the Gallery Mall in downtown Philadelphia with new retailers, restaurants, and outlet stores.

“Philadelphia is the fourth largest market in the United States. It has everything, but the one thing it’s missing is retail. There’s better retail in Kansas City than in Philadelphia, and we see this as a huge opportunity to transform downtown,” Coradino said.

With the stock market surge being credited to the election of Donald Trump, himself a New York real estate developer, it’s no wonder that the most popular giveaway at the show was the “Make Retail Great Again” caps offered up by Olshan Properties.

“I see great opportunities ahead for amplifying the shopping experience for all consumers,” said the company’s CEO, Andrea Olshan.

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