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Tiffany Montgomery
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Shopping center execs pessimistic on BTS

By Tiffany Montgomery
August 20, 2008 6:55 AM

teenage shopperThe International Council of Shopping Centers surveys mall executives each month and the July results are sobering.


The survey results, released this month, show business conditions deteriorated significantly in July, falling to the lowest level since the survey started in Sept. 2003.


The overall July results were 14.6 percentage points lower than July, 2007.


The two major components of the survey - business conditions and six month expectations - dropped significantly in July. Under business conditions, the customer traffic reading of 32.2 percent was the lowest ever reported on the survey, a 19.2 percent point drop from the same month last year.


Mall owners were also asked to assess sales growth expectations for back-to-school. More than half, 58 percent, expected weak or very weak sales growth compared to last year.


Thirty-three percent expected a similar growth rate. Only 9 percent believed sales growth would be strong or very strong for BTS. By comparison, in 2007, 23 percent of executives believed BTS sales growth would be strong or very strong.


This is bad news for people trying to sell goods at the malls - especially the weak customer traffic number - but the bright side is retailers and manufacturers looking to open stores are probably getting many more concessions from landlords than in the past.


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