07/21/2010 | By REIT.com
Trends in the retail sector continue to improve, according to John Kite, chairman and CEO of Kite Realty Group Trust (NYSE: KRG). Speaking at REITWeek 2010, Kite says retailers are not only talking about filling existing space but beginning to look at new store development.
"Clearly the market is better, but we are in the early stages of finding stabilization," Kite says. "We have gone through a very difficult time in this country. We have turned the corner with regards to the crisis over rents and occupancies, but it takes time to build your way back."
The fallout from the credit crisis and economic turmoil has been a big hole to climb out of, likely to be a multi-year process. Kite says the credit crisis impacted every aspect of the business in some way.
"We are going to try and be more conservative going forward and have a liquidity cushion," Kite says. "We will operate the company cautiously with an eye to when that next downturn might be."
In terms of development activity, Kite says the company still has an active development pipeline but was fortunate to not have a lot of projects in the build stage during the downturn.
"We have six projects that we haven't begun. We have been cautious about when to start those," Kite says. "Now we are starting to get the traction, particularly with the anchor tenants, that allow us to get to a comfortable pre-leasing level where we would be ready to go forward."