The San Francisco Chronicle has a story doing a good job summing up the situation for the retail real estate sector. There's nothing particularly new in the story. The nice touch is a at the bottom aggregating the most pessimistic predictions in various numbers such as store closings, retail property closings, debt coming due and rent decreases in 2009.
Will this all come to pass? Hopefully not. But at least this establishes a baseline for the year.
Stores that will close in 2009: 200,000*
Malls that will close in 2009: 2,000 to 3,000*
Retail vacancy rate by third quarter: 12.7 percent, up from 9.8 percent a year earlier**
Rent decline by third quarter: 7.3%**
Debt coming due for publicly traded mall owners in 2009 and 2010: $23 billion***
Stores that will open in 2009: 105,000 to 110,000, down from around 125,000 in recent years****
Sources: *Strategic Resource Group, **National Association of Realtors, ***Green Street Advisors Inc., ****Council of Shopping Centers