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HOUSTON-According to a midyear report by Dallas-based Weitzman Group, the Houston retail market has thus far experienced brisk leasing and construction activity as well as notable expansions. The market, say researchers, definitely will finish on a strong note this year.

The report attributes the success of the retail market to Houston’s strong housing and job market, citing a home sales boost of 6% by June and a 2.4% job growth increase between May 2000 and May 2001. The report puts retail occupancy levels at 90% compared to 88% at the 2000 close.

Grocery store chains have been very active in 2001, H-E-B already has nine stores under way, Kroger has opened two stores and Randalls has opened two stores and has up to two on the way. The report also mentions some significant closures such as the Weiner’s bankruptcy, the closing of six Stage Stores Palais Royals, the closing of all of the Montgomery Ward’s stores in Houston and the local and national closures of HomeLife.

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