Big chains eye vacant space

January 18, 2010 02:57PM

Retail sales declined 9 percent in 2009, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce, a move that’s caused big-name chain brands, like Circuit City and Linens ‘N Things, to buckle under the pressure. But their misery could be some brands’ opportunity, according to Advertising Age. The overall retail malaise has led to a massive drop in asking rents, said Charles Wetzel, head of market planning firm Buxton, who said he expects to see more companies getting back in the game this year. “There’s going to be a lot of opportunity out there,” Wetzel said. “[Companies] are not as aggressive as they might have been in years prior, but, having said that, they’re not being conservative either.” Thrifty-minded brands like the Dollar General chain, McDonald’s, Sonic, and Kohl’s are poised to take advantage of the vacancies left by shuttered companies, with more landlords willing to negotiate terms and rates on leases, market experts say.