Last week’s Quick Poll asked readers about the store-closing horizon for 2010. Most weren’t very optimistic about the coming year. Forty percent said the increase will be modest this year, while another 21% claim that 2010 is so bad, it will make last year seem like “boom times.” Only 39% felt that there are better times ahead.

Andy Graiser, co-president of Melville, NY-based DJM Realty, a Gordon Brothers Group company, is at the forefront of the store closure scene. His outfit negotiates leases for tenants going out of business and is currently working with Movie Gallery, which is closing over 800 stores. Grasier spoke with and fell in the positive minority.

“There is going to be less square footage closing. One of the things we saw in the past were some very large retailers that had a lot of square footage hit the market, whether it was Linens ‘n Things, Circuit City, Goody’s Family Clothing or Gottschalks. Those were some pretty big pieces of real estate hitting the market. I don’t expect that this year.

We are seeing retailers that are just doing sort of normal cleansing. There are issues out there that we have seen in certain sectors, like the regional supermarkets. We’re expecting more closures there. Casual dining has got a lot of stress right now. We’re expecting closures there. Yet, on the other side, we’re starting to see apparel improve, so we’re expecting less there, and people were anticipating more than that.”

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