I'm ringing in the New Year with a bad cold. Overall it's been pretty quiet on the retail real estate front since Christmas. Here are a few news and notes from the past week or so in case you missed them. Also, we posted a Year in Review last week that you should check out if you haven't seen it yet.
- Talbots, which had some debt issues, has amended its secured revolving loan agreement with shareholder Aeon Co. to repay all of its outstanding third-party bank debt. The amendment is part of a larger plan for Talbots to merge with holding company BPW Acquisition Corp.
- Development on new shopping centers may have slowed in the United States, but internationally the building boom continues. For example, in Turkey nearly 100 shopping centers will be opened within three years, 63 of them in 2010.
- There's been a lot of changes in top leadership at major retail real estate firms in recent weeks. We've seen changes at Developers Diversified, CBL & Associates Properties and now Cafaro Corp. where Anthony M. Cafaro Sr. and vice president John J. "Jay" Cafaro are retiring. In all cases these are planned successions taking place. The Cafaro transition has been in the works for a long time. We wrote a case study about the plan back in 2007.
- The company formerly known as Ritz Camera has emerged from bankruptcy with a new business plan. The chain will now be known as Ritz Camera & Image and expanded its scope will go beyond just selling cameras, camera equipment and photos.
- Guru Focus interviewed Ben Johnson, the author of the new book Money Talks, Bullshit Walks: Inside the Contrarian Mind of Billionaire Mogul Sam Zell. It is an unauthorized biography. In the interview, Johnson talks about how he pulled the book together. Johnson was formerly the editor of Shopping Center World, which is what Retail Traffic used to be called.
- Kevin Maggiacomo, President and CEO of Sperry Van Ness, posted a lengthy New Year's Message to his blog that doubles as a 2010 forecast and outlook. It's worth reading.
- There was a terrible mall shooting in Finland. A Kosovan-born gunman killed his ex-girlfriend and four other people. His ex-girlfriend worked at the mall, although she was not at the mall at the time. He shot four at the property, killed his ex-girlfriend at her apartment and then later killed himself.