Our goal is to make Retail Traffic a practical tool for our readers across the industry. In recent years we have worked hard to improve our coverage of major trends shaping retail real estate. We like to drill down into the confusing whirl of news and extract a clear vision of where the business is headed. Whether it's the next twist in mixed-use development or the global search for new investment opportunties (See cover story, p.26 and “The Great Debate” on p. 34) or any of a dozen other major trends in the industry, we like to bring you the smart “tell” on the story first.

But we also know that our readers have a business to run. How are owners dealing with rising fuel costs, soaring insurance rates and the dwindling supply of greenfield sites? How are they solving community-relations challenges? What are they doing to bring new talent into their companies? What are the proper steps for successful succession planning? What kind of technology is being used to streamline back office operations?

At the property level, how do you activate dead space to generate new streams of revenue? What are the best ways of finding new sites? How are companies using demographic data to make decisions about new projects?

These are the kinds of meat-and-potatoes topics, and more, that we're going to tackle in every issue in a section that makes its debut in this month: The Management Office.

The inspiration for the name comes from the thousands of management offices at retail properties across the U.S. — places where decisions are made about leasing, marketing, security, energy use and everything else affecting how a property functions. But our mission is broader — to provide information and insight to help management in all segments of the retail real estate business get the best results. We will look at corporate-level management. We will also examine all the management disciplines, from recruitment to marketing to community and government relations to turnaround strategies.

Of course, Retail Traffic has covered many of these topics in the past. The Management Office will be a new home for familiar features including our case studies, strategy stories and Expert Q&As.

We know our readers are busy, too. So, The Management Office will try to be efficient — relying on brief stories with clear leassons. Every month we'll also feature shorts on different strategies companies are employing. For example, in this issue we look at Simon's alliance with Disney on in-mall entertainment as well as CBL & Associates Properties' competition to groom some start-up retail concepts.

For a taste, check out the stories beginning on p. 52. Let us know how you like The Management Office. Send your comments and suggestions for future coverage to dbodamer@retailtrafficmag.com or call me at 212 204-4207.