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Retailers have learned a lot from the expansion heyday of the early 2000s. (One thing learned: Backstreet Boys are not the best band ever.) And that's not great news for retail landlords because it means retailers are much more demanding in leases. That was the message out of this week's retailer panel at ICSC Southeast's conference at the Cobb Galleria. ?We learned a lot quite honestly? due to the recession, says Jeff Gray of Hibbett Sports, which is trying to open up to 65 new stores in the next year. No one expected the number of major shopping center anchors to drop like flies during the Great Recession, and that has led to the importance of co-tenancy clauses for retailers, he says.
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Chick-Fil-A's Marianne McCabe says the restaurant chain no longer locates next to a major retail anchor without first assessing if both the demographics and traffic are in place first. ?We were probably too reliant that as long as Target was there? a Chick-Fil-A could go there as well, Marianne says. ?The customers have to be there for us to be successful.? The most popular clauses that these retailers seek are early termination rights, often tied to things like expected sales volume.
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We snapped Starbucks' Warner Walker, who plans to open 10 new stores in the Southeast next year. He says Starbucks especially learned hard lessons during the downturn. ?We were doing deals back in 2004 to 2006, and I had a bad feeling that this wasn't sustainable,? Warner recalls. Now he says Starbucks will only enter into a location if it knows it will work for them.