LAS VEGAS-Some retailers are still growing today despite the downturn, but they face a different environment in terms of doing deals than they did when the economy was roaring. And that doesn’t necessarily mean that they can call their own tune in lease negotiations because the recession has emptied out a lot of retail space, panelists pointed out at an ICSC panel Sunday at RECon, the annual ICSC spring conference here at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

For example, panelist Debbie Ferrell, senior manager of real estate channel development for T-Mobile, pointed out that the company has a “very aggressive” expansion plan for 200 new locations this year, but faces some challenges in finding those locations. For one, landlords often want longer lease terms. For another, T-Mobile is looking for “A” locations and “It’s a challenge to find them,” she said―when such sites are available, landlords are often holding out for higher rents.

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