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Field Guide to Retail Property: Development, Leasing, Management

The state of the U.S. economy is impacting the retail sector. Store vacancies, declining real estate values and reduced consumer spending have resulted in retailers feeling the pinch. Developers and managers are looking to hold on to tenants, cut costs and streamline procedures. This field guide offers information on the current climate as well as some hopeful signs for the future.

2013 Top 100 Retailers

  • Walmart
  • Kroger
  • Target
  • Costco
  • Home Depot
  • Walgreen
  • CVS Caremark
  • Lowe's
  • Safeway
  • McDonalds
  • Amazon.com
  • Best Buy
  • Sears Holdings
  • Macy’s
  • Publix
  • Ahold USA/Royal Ahold
  • Rite Aid
  • Apple Stores/iTunes
  • TJX

View entire list; Source: Stores.org, (July 2013).

The Retail Climate

A rebound for retail, (The Arizona Republic, Oct. 22, 2011)

Outlet centers a bright spot in retail development, (GlobeSt.com, Sept. 21, 2011).

Wrigley building deal demonstrates investor interest in Chicago, (National Real Estate Investor, Sept. 21, 2011).

Will vacant storefronts tax improve business in Berkeley? (Berkeleyside.com, Sept. 20, 2011).

How Eden Prairie mall challenged the Minnesota tax court,  (Retail Traffic Mag.com, Sept. 7, 2011).

Gyms working out for landlords, (Wall Street Journal, Sept. 7, 2011).

Upscale grocers continue to shape the supermarket sector,  (RetailTrafficMag.com, Aug. 3, 2011).

U.S. retailers and developers seek expansion opportunities in great white north, (RetailTrafficMag.com, June 14, 2011).

Is e-commerce the shopping center industry's friend or foe? (National Real Estate Investor Online, May 2, 2011).

Slow move into Internet commerce led to Borders’ downfall, (Press of Atlantic City, Feb. 13, 2011).

Retail vacancies at malls hit 3-year low, (REALTOR® Magazine Online, Oct. 7. 2010).

Leasing Retail Property

Lease negotiation for a healthy business, (Nation's Restaurant News, Sept. 12, 2011).

Some landlords work to keep cam costs in check to aid tenants, (RetailTrafficMag.com, May 19, 2011).

Tenants retain upper hand in lease negotiations, (RetailTrafficMag.com, May 18, 2011).

Five tips for retail site selection, (PRWeb.com, May 15, 2011).

Rising occupancy should bring growth in retail rents by year-end, (CoStar Group, May 11, 2011).

Creative tenanting, (Chain Store Age, May, 2009).  Q

Management & Marketing

Shops focus on service to better compete, (BicycleRetailer.com, Sept. 21, 2011).

The spread of smartphones forces the evolution of mall marketing efforts,  (RetailTrafficMag.com, Sept. 20, 2011).

Getting the best loan, (IREM Journal of Property Management, July/Aug. 2011).

Sophisticated security drills help some mall owners and managers prepare for the worst, (RetailTrafficMag.com, Apr. 7, 2011).


CCIM Institute—A Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM) is a recognized expert in the disciplines of commercial and investment real estate.

International Council of Shopping Centers—Global trade association representing the shopping center industry. The groups' membership is over 65,000 in about 80 countries.

IREM—The Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM), an affiliate of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION of REALTORS, is an association of property and asset managers who have met the strict criteria in the areas of education, experience, and ethics.

National Retail Federation—The National Retail Federation is the world's largest retail trade association, with membership compromising all retail formats and channels of distribution.

eBooks & Other Resources


The following eBooks and digital audiobooks are available to NAR members:

The Complete Guide to Financing Real Estate Developments (Adobe eBook)

The Dynamics of Property Location (Adobe eBook)

Gen BuY: How Tweens, Teens and Twenty-Somethings are Revolutionizing Retail! (Kindle, Adobe eBook)

Local and Community Driven Development (Adobe eBook)

Real Estate Development and Investment (Adobe eBook)

Sustainable Property Development (Adobe eBook)

Books, Videos, Research Reports & More

The resources below are available for loan through Information Central. Up to three books, tapes, CDs and/or DVDs can be borrowed for 30 days from the Library for a nominal fee of $10. Call Information Central at 800-874-6500 for assistance.

Annual Store Construction & Outfitting Survey, (Chain Store Age, 2013).

Annual Store Construction & Outfitting Survey, (Chain Store Age, 2011).

Is the ‘Shop Around the Corner’ a luxury or a nuisance? working paper, (University of CA Lusk Center for Real Estate, Sept. 22, 2010).

Field Guides & More

These field guides and other resources in the Virtual Library may also be of interest:

Field Guide to Site Selection

Field Guide to Commercial Property management

InfoCentral Blog

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The inclusion of links on this field guide does not imply endorsement by the National Association of REALTORS®. NAR makes no representations about whether the content of any external sites which may be linked in this field guide complies with state or federal laws or regulations or with applicable NAR policies. These links are provided for your convenience only and you rely on them at your own risk.