No time to rest on our laurels Information -- the speed at which it flows and how we choose to act on it -- is crucial to maintaining a competitive edge in the business world. Today's new breed of real estate lenders and investors demands a level of information unparalleled in the industry. This enhanced flow of data and analysis is supposed to put the brakes on overbuilding and flatten out future real estate cycles. So far, this approach is working.

Our task as the industry magazine is to determine what information readers need in order to stay ahead of the curve. Well, if there is anything I'm certain of, it's that we do not need multiple pictures of magazine publishers in posed publicity shots.

Shopping Center World takes very seriously its role of providing information to the industry. In short, we put our money where our mouth is. We invest thousands of dollars every year in comprehensive research studies, ranging from reader surveys to compensation reports to industry forecasts. Our commitment to the reader has generated tremendous loyalty. No matter what the trend in the shopping center industry, readers can count on us to uncover it and put it into context.

We refuse to be complacent. Our readers have stated a strong preference for information about new or expanding retailers and case studies of successful projects. We responded by increasing coverage of retailers through profiles and through Store Fronts, which chronicles retailers on the go.

Expanded editorial product Beginning in 1998, we dedicated ourselves to creating a more vibrant editorial product. We introduced a monthly series of company profiles that give an inside look at some of the most noteworthy firms in our industry. We also routinely provide case studies of malls newly developed or renovated.

We also presented expanded coverage of the capital markets. And what an unforgettable year it was in 1998. From the dramatic repricing of REITs to the investor "flight to quality" that shook the CMBS market, Shopping Center World was there to cover it all.

One competitive advantage is our ability to draw on the resources of our sister publication National Real Estate Investor, the leading authority on real estate finance and investment.

New offerings There's more. We are excited to present two new editorial features beginning with the January issue: Entertaining Places, a quarterly supplement, and the "Specifiers Guide," a monthly addition to the magazine.

The continued development of entertainment centers is one of the most dominant trends in the industry today. Entertaining Places explores the development of spaces that not only fuse retail and entertainment but also create a social experience not easily duplicated. Each issue of Entertaining Places will focus on design trends, new developments, entertainment retailers and the people and products that are driving this trend to new heights.

The "Specifiers Guide" provides comprehensive coverage of building products available for the development, operations and renovation of shopping centers. The section is written specifically for the shopping center executive who makes the important design and construction decisions. Each month we will interview design and construction executives, spotlight new products, offer how-to articles and provide news on all major products used in malls.

Special thanks I want to take this opportunity to reflect on the tremendously successful year Shopping Center World enjoyed in 1998. The continued support and guidance from industry leaders have proved instrumental in our success.

Lastly, I want to emphasize that running a great magazine depends on the creativity, energy and passion of more than 40 publishing professionals. The SCW team worked incredibly hard all year long with one goal in mind: to give you the best retail and shopping center magazine on a monthly basis. I think you'll agree that our product reflects our commitment.

Happy New Year from SCW to you!