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The current market conditions have changed considerably since just six months ago. Retailers are now showing considerable caution in securing new sites due to the economic slowdown. The sub-prime mortgage crisis as well as gasoline prices have had an impact on retail sales, as would be expected. Family disposable income has been re-allocated and, as a result, the buying power of the 15 – 25-year-olds has considerably diminished.

Fortunately, in the State of New Jersey, our economy appears to be stronger than in other parts of the country. The Goldstein Group, which monitors retail vacancies throughout New Jersey twice a year, currently shows a retail vacancy in New Jersey of approximately 5%. This figure is low compared to other retail markets in the United States, such as Atlanta, Miami, Chicago and Dallas, who are experiencing a much higher vacancy rate, in the 10-15% range. Fortunately for New Jersey, this lower vacancy rate has meant that our economy is holding up better than those being experienced nationally.

Although it is obvious that we will be experiencing some rougher times ahead, we don’t anticipate a huge increase in retail vacancies, and we anticipate that New Jersey will bounce back quickly when the economy regains its strength.

Chuck Lanyard is president of the Goldstein Group. He can be reached at [email protected].

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