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WILL WE SEE MORE STARBUCKS CLOSINGS?

Last week’s national GlobeSt.com Quick Poll asked readers if the market will see more Starbucks closings. An overwhelming 84% majority said yes. Marc Strauss, vice president of investments and senior director with Marcus & Millichap’s national retail group in Fort Lauderdale, talks to GlobeSt.com about the coffee giant’s closings as part of an overall rise in retail vacancy:

“I think we will absolutely see more retailers closing. Speaking specifically of more Starbucks closings, there could well be as more evaluations are going on. The interesting thing about Starbucks is that the company is also getting rid of a lot of merchandise. According to one report I read, they won’t be selling music anymore.

“As we drive the South Florida market and speak to owners here, and nationally, we are starting to see a substantial increase in vacancies. This is happening because there is less disposable income. It’s a consumer problem: if they don’t have money to spend, they’re not buying.

“What I’m seeing in the shopping centers is that boutique owners are struggling more and major retailers are reporting lower sales. We are also seeing an increase in restaurant space on the market. In a down economy, people tend to eat out less so restaurants are having a tough time.

“Outlet malls are doing well across the board because people are looking for value. Their occupancies are up. Another area that’s doing well is the movie industry. It’s an evening out that gives people an escape without having to spend a lot of money.

“I think this is easily going to last for six months to a year, and I believe it’s more like a year. I think this is an opportune time to get your property moved, before things really fall apart. Right now it’s a lot better than it will be in the next six months to a year.”

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