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HOUSTON-In the third quarter, Houston sustained nearly a negative 1.2 million-sf absorption, says O’Conner & Associates in its latest retail performance update. The impact is softened by a four-quarter analysis that shows a negative 344,137 sf, thanks to some takeovers of competitors’ shuttered stores. The Houston firm is blaming the hit on the nation’s weakened economy and uncertain times.

Big box shutdowns lie at the root of the problem. Weiner’s closed all of its stores in bankruptcy proceedings, although the report does mention that Falles Paredes, a California-based store chain with a similar concept to Weiner’s has acquired 10 of 25 leases for Weiner’s in Houston. Krause’s Furniture is closing all six of its Houston-area stores and seven big box closings in the city are attributable to the Montgomery Ward bankruptcy. SuperStand Magazine, a Houston-based chain closed three of its five Houston stores. Gerland’s grocery closed three stores, with one location being picked up by Fiesta. Albertsons also is closing some Houston stores.

In looking at the last year’s statistics, the report says the region’s absorption is down about 4.8 million sf from the prior year. Regional malls and neighborhood centers took the hardest hits. Regional malls absorbed a negative 311,160 sf in the third quarter while neighborhood centers came in at a negative 527,440 sf of absorption.

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