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Though attendance at the International Council of Shopping Centers’ RECon event in Las Vegas seems a little lighter than years past, the convention is by no means slow.When asking one person during a meeting today, Roy Higgs, the CEO of architecture firm Development Design Group, how he would describe the show’s climate, the answer was “the opposite of doom and gloom.”Many seemed to agree with this sentiment. Sure, things are a little slower than years past, but deals are still getting done and retailers are still expanding. “There’s expansion occurring,” says John Bemis, director of leasing and development at Jones Lang LaSalle. “Strong and focused retailers are continuing to expand.”In most cases, he says, retailers that were opening 20 stores this year have cut back to 16 units. Bemis even predicts that early next year will bring a spike in fashion retail expansion. All of the people who are cutting back their spending will start buying again as soon as next year’s first quarter, he says.But Bernard Haddigan, managing director of Marcus & Millichap’s national retail group, has a more tempered outlook. He says that the convention is “very busy, but not smoking busy” and that there is less of a retailer presence here this year.He wouldn’t predict when things could turn around but was not overly negative about the climate, either. “It’s not the end of the world,” he says.

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