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Rent’s up, availability’s down at retail centers

Rents at shopping centers rose by almost 5% in the first quarter of 2019 compared with the same quarter last year, according to CBRE’s Q1 retail report. The average asking rent hit $17.84 per sq. ft., the highest it’s been since 2008.

Higher rents tend to go hand-in-hand with lower availability rates, and that’s the case in Q1. The availability rate fell to 6.2% in the quarter, down 10 basis points from Q4 2018. Open to rent space declined at malls and lifestyle, neighborhood, and strip centers. A 10-basis-point increase to 7% was recorded by CBRE in the power center segment.

The global real estate services firm reported a 3.2% year-over-year increase in retail sales. Non-store retailers set the pace with year-over-year gains of 10.8%. Health and personal care retailers and food and beverage establishments both posted sales increases of around 5%.

The poorest performers were sporting goods, hobby, book, and music stores with sales declines near 9%, as well as department stores, which were down almost 4%.

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