Grubb & Ellis’s 2009 Forecast Report predicts continued softness for retail real estate. The firm expects net absorption to end the year at negative 12 million square feet. Completions are also expected to decrease to 20 million square feet. However, the slowdown in development won’t be enough to keep the vacancy rate from increasing. The brokerage company expects the vacancy rate to end 2009 at 9.9 percent up from 9.1 percent at the end of 2008 and for asking rates to drop up to 10 percent this year.