Here are some retail and retail real estate news and notes from the past couple of days.
- I could never imagine a mall shaped like a volcano getting built in the United States. But there is one in Italy, not far from Mt. Vesuvius. "The roof of most of the structure is what looks like a grassy knoll, a surface that holds over 25,000 plants and helps naturally insulate the interior spaces. The crater holds an outdoor theater, a market and a "sloping pine forest." In addition to the normal mall shops inside, there's also a 2,000 seat cinema, a supermarket, a hotel and a bunch of restaurants."
- Toys 'R' Us is planning on opening 350 pop-up shops during the holiday shopping season. Talk about taking advantage of the vacancy situation!
- The latest PricewaterhouseCoopers Korpacz Real Estate Investor Survey says that commercial real estate won't recover until 2012. Bloomberg summarized the results as did our sister publication NREI.
- CityBiz wrote up a recent Fitch report about how corrections to some GGP loans has helped stem the increases in CMBS delinquencies, at least temporarily.
- Wal-Mart's Project Impact is designed to crush the competition--or so says Time.
The company is in the beginning stages of a massive store and strategy remodeling effort, which it has dubbed Project Impact. One goal of Project Impact is cleaner, less cluttered stores that will improve the shopping experience. Another is friendlier customer service. A third: home in on categories where the competition can be killed. "They've got Kmart ready to take a standing eight-count next year," says retail consultant Burt Flickinger III, managing director for Strategic Resources Group and a veteran Walmart watcher. "Same with Rite Aid. They've knocked out four of the top five toy retailers, and are now going after the last one standing, Toys "R" Us. Project Impact will be the catalyst to wipe out a second round of national and regional retailers."
- TheStreet wrote that Kroger's rotten quarter is bad news for other grocers.