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The mood at next week’s ICSC RECon will be decidedly more positive than a year ago. And judging by the most current data, market participants can afford a degree of cautious optimism. Retail transaction activity and pricing metrics are continuing to rise off their lows, albeit unevenly across the national geography. Similarly, property fundamentals are more stable and, for the best quality assets, are showing tangible signs of improvement. Along selected flagship urban corridors – most notably Fifth Avenue below Central Park – recent sales and lease signings have in some cases set post-crisis benchmarks that rival the heady days of 2006 and 2007. Even more significant for the sustainability of current trends, consumer confidence and spending are picking up, in spite of headwinds ranging from worrisome inflationary pressures to the prodding pace of the employment and income recovery.

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