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There isn’t a whole lot of hope out there that retailers can rebound any time soon. Last week’s GlobeSt.com Quick Poll asked readers if they thought retailers could turn things around by the end of the year. The overwhelming majority, said “no” and predicted that the sector will feel pain through 2010. Only 19% surmised that the sector can rebound by the end of the year. David Fleming, an executive at Chestnut Hill, MA-based WS Development, didn’t offer a prediction for when a bounce back might happen, but he did say that things could be worse in his firm’s 16-million-square-foot shopping center portfolio.

Retail sales are clearly not as strong as they have been in past years. That said, from a developer’s perspective, our occupancy rates have remained strong. We’re 96% leased across our portfolio of 80 properties. This will be our third consecutive year opening a major shopping center. Each are exceptionally well leased, and our centers are performing well through this challenging economy.

We’re still seeing good traffic and good sales. We have seen some turnover among some of the smaller retailers, yet we’ve been able to re-tenant in many cases. It’s taking longer than in the past to replace tenants, but if you have a well-positioned property in a good location with other good stores, you can retenant in many cases.

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