Retail business outlook may be bright for 2011

A shopper carries shopping bags on Fifth Avenue in New York City.

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STACEY VANEK SMITH: That cold and very white Christmas they had on the East coast certainly wasn't what retailers were dreaming of. Research firm Shoppertrak estimates stores lost about a billion dollars worth of business on key post-Christmas shopping days. Overall, though, this was the merriest Christmas retailers have seen in years.

Can they also expect a happy new year? Eve Troeh reports.


Eve Troeh: Quizno's, Blockbuster, Foot Locker, the Gap. Those are just a few of the companies that shuttered hundreds of storefronts in 2010.

Harold Bordwin is with real estate firm Keen Consultants. He says not nearly as many stores will shut down this year, but...

Bordwin: There are gonna be retailers that are still closing stores, and I think that where there are already dark stores, those are likely to remain for a while.

He says rent has dropped for vacant retail space but many companies that might expand as their sales improve can't, because they're stuck in expensive leases. But Bordwin says, at least we won't see a lot more retailers going out of business altogether.

Bordwin: Retailers have gotten very good at managing their costs. Most of the retailers who've made it this far, have stabilized themselves and should be able to make it.

Make it through this year, he says, and start looking to grow beyond 2011.

In Los Angeles, I'm Eve Troeh for Marketplace.

About the author

Eve Troeh is News Director at WWNO-FM in New Orleans, La., helping build the first public radio news department in the station’s 40-year history. She reported for the Marketplace Sustainability Desk from 2010 to 2013.

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