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Consumer Confidence Fades (Tuesday's News & Notes)

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I wonder if retailers are going to regret the fact that they have gotten more aggressive about opening new stores. After a tough few years, the healthy same-store sales numbers in the early parts of 2010 brought retailers out of hibernation and ready to talk to landlords about expansion plans.

But now the consumer picture is getting increasingly bleak. The latest consumer confidence figures show continued deterioration. And every day we hear "double-dip recession" mentioned more.

The Conference Board, a private research group, said Tuesday that its Consumer Confidence Index slipped to 50.4 in July, down from the revised 54.3 in June. Economists surveyed by Thomson Reuters expected a reading of 51.0. The decline follows last month's nearly 10-point drop, from 62.7 in May, which marked the biggest since February, when the measure also fell 10 points.

The survey was taken July 1-21, beginning just as the Standard & Poor's 500 index was falling to a nine-month low of 1,022.58 on July 2. It had risen 4.5 percent by July 21 and has since climbed an additional 4 percent.

The second straight month of declining confidence follows three months of increases.

"It's all about jobs. That's still the primary source of income," said Lynn Frnaco, director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center. "Until we see the pace of job growth pick up and consumers are confident that this is sustainable, we are not likely to see a significant pickup in confidence."

I feel like I'm beginning to beat a dead horse here, but I can't see how we have a real recovery in retail and retail real estate until a job recovery occurs. And on that front, there's not much to be happy about either.

Ugh.

Aside from that, here are some other news and notes from the retail real estate world.

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Elaine Misonzhnik

Senior associate editor Elaine Misonzhnik has been writing for National Real Estate Investor since June 2006 and has covered commercial real estate for more than 12 years. She first became...
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