Mid Atlantic ICSC Show -For the first time, the 2010 Mid Atlantic International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) show was held at the Gaylord National convention center much to the satisfaction of attendees.
For 2010, ICSC forecasts a 3.9% increase in shopping centers growth mostly attributed to government stimulus programs initiated in 2008. Sales improved in almost every retail category in 2009 as evidenced by the luxury category which posted a 10.8 % increase in sales over 2008. GDP increased 2.2% in the 3rd Quarter of 2009 and ICSC forecasts modest economic expansion in 2010 with soft goods to be especially slow.
A recent ICSC consumer spending survey showed 82% of the respondents rated their financial position as fair or good. Gary Rappaport of The Rappaport Companies noted essential and frugal spending now translates to pent up demand for more significant consumer spending later.
Retailers who successfully managed their inventory to lower levels during the recession are poised for expansion in late 2010 and beyond. Many retailers including Starbucks said they are motivated to expand within the urban core of Washington DC at the expense of fewer locations in the suburbs. Store closures slowed significantly in 2009 with an actual net gain of 377 stores nationwide. A majority of retailers in attendance said they are focused on profits and less on expansion for the remainder of 2010 due to the credit crunch.
Most panelists at the ICSC show agreed few new projects would commence until 2011 or later when commercial credit becomes more accessible. Locally, Doug Olson the Executive Vice President of Monument Realty said his firm cannot obtaining financing for their Half Street project located adjacent to the National Stadium in the Capitol Riverfront area of Washington D.C. He predicted financing would be secured in the future and the project would move forward to completion.