National Retail Federation creates multimillion-dollar department within its organization focused on industry research

WASHINGTON, 2015-4-13 — /EPR Retail News/ — Today the National Retail Federation announced a multimillion-dollar investment to form a new department within the organization focusing on industry research. The Retail Research and Analysis Center will bring together all existing research within NRF and expand upon the wide range of issue areas and trends already studied. The Center will focus on four main areas: the economy, legislative and regulatory policy, the retail industry and consumers.

“NRF is at the forefront of research and analysis that impact our industry, the consumers it serves and the economy in which it operates,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. “By significantly investing in the future expansion and scope of NRF research, our members will have additional tools and insight as they operate in a very dynamic marketplace. And, our advocates will have the facts they need to advance retail’s policy agenda.”

Shay announced that Ellen Davis will now serve as NRF’s senior vice president of research and strategic initiatives. Davis will also continue to function as executive director of the NRF Foundation.

“It is extremely exciting to be a part of building upon one of the core services we provide to our members, the media, analysts and decision makers,” Davis said. “Studies, surveys, white papers and critical analysis by industry leaders help us frame policy debates, identify trends, and change perceptions about retail’s evolution. As the nation’s largest private-sector employer and an industry that contributes $2.6 trillion dollars annually to the U.S. GDP, the retail industry impacts all sectors of our economy and is uniquely positioned to provide business insights and analysis to shape key debates in Washington.”

NRF has started an extensive search for a vice president of research development and industry analysis, reporting to Davis. Current staff and consultant resources are being utilized and additional dedicated staffing is anticipated.

“NRF is an acknowledged leader in advocacy, research, education and analysis. The formation and funding of the Retail Research and Analysis Center will allow us to take this important function to the next level, with the resources necessary to deliver real results for our members and the industry,” continued Shay.

NRF is the world’s largest retail trade association, representing discount and department stores, home goods and specialty stores, Main Street merchants, grocers, wholesalers, chain restaurants and Internet retailers from the United States and more than 45 countries. Retail is the nation’s largest private sector employer, supporting one in four U.S. jobs – 42 million working Americans. Contributing $2.6 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation’s economy. NRF’s This is Retail campaign highlights the industry’s opportunities for life-long careers, how retailers strengthen communities, and the critical role that retail plays in driving innovation. NRF.com

Kathy Grannis
(202) 783-7971
press@nrf.com
(855) NRF-Press

 

Lowe’s Companies released its 2014 Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Report

Lowe’s enhances companywide improvement efforts and expands reporting to align with GRI

MOORESVILLE, N.C., 2015-4-13 — /EPR Retail News/ — Lowe’s Companies, Inc. (NYSE: LOW) today announced the release of its 2014 Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Report, providing an expanded and enhanced review of Lowe’s sustainability objectives and the company’s progress during the past year. The 2014 CSR report can be viewed on Lowe’s website.

The report outlines the company’s shared approach to meeting the needs of its customers, employees, communities and the environment while addressing key topics that are important to its business, stakeholders and society.

“At Lowe’s, we’re driven by a single purpose – to help people love where they live,” Robert A. Niblock says in the report’s CEO Message. “This is a constant commitment that we approach together with the help of more than 265,000 employees. We’re proud of our progress in 2014 and will continue to work hard to improve as we carry out our shared responsibility every day in our workplace and communities.”

The report details improvements Lowe’s achieved in important focus areas, including the health, safety and engagement of employees, the company’s progress against its 2020 sustainability goals and its collaboration with suppliers to maintain the highest ethical standards and improve the products it sells. For the first time, Lowe’s referred to the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) G4 guidelines to compile the report and included an index of standard disclosures to enhance transparency and offer easy access to key data.

Lowe’s highlights from 2014 include:

  • Lowe’s and the Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation gave $28 million to community organizations, and more than 41,000 Lowe’s Heroes employee volunteersdonated their time and expertise to improve communities.
  • Lowe’s continued to reduce employee incidents across its operations. The average Lost Time Incident Rateat Lowe’s stores and distribution centers per 200,000 hours was 2.07, a 21 percent improvement since Lowe’s 2012 baseline year and a new company record.
  • For the first time in Lowe’s annual Employee Opinion Survey, its U.S. stores, distribution centers and customer support centers all reached the company’s benchmark engagement goal of 65 percent, indicating a highly engaged workforce. CareerBliss recognized Lowe’s as one of the 10 happiest retailers to work for in 2014.
  • The company launched new fleets of natural-gas powered trucks at five regional distribution centers, reaching its goal of serving at least 20 percent of its stores with natural gas trucks by the end of 2014. Lowe’s also became the only retail shipping partner ever to receive six EPA SmartWay® awards for superior environmental performance in supply chain operations.
  • Lowe’s sold enough Energy Star® products in 2014 to save customers approximately $2.4 billion in utility costs over the lifetime of the products and eliminate greenhouse gases equivalent to the emissions from nearly 2.9 million cars.

Lowe’s commitments for 2015 include:

  • Building on the success of its cardiac surgery and hip and knee replacement programs, Lowe’s launched a no-cost spine surgery benefit for employees this year in collaboration with three U.S. facilities designated as Centers of Excellence because of their high quality of care and patient satisfaction. The initiative is open to all Lowe’s employees enrolled in the company’s self-funded health plans and includes full reimbursement of associated travel for the patient and a companion.
  • Lowe’s is committed to regularly reviewing the products and information it offers customers. Following studies that say many factors, including neonicotinoid pesticides, could potentially damage the health of pollinators, Lowe’s has committed to take several steps to support pollinator health. Lowe’s will phase out the sale of products that contain neonic pesticides within 48 months as suitable alternatives become commercially available. Lowe’s will include greater organic and non-neonic product selections, work with growers to eliminate the use of neonic pesticides on bee-attractive plants it sells and educate customers and employees through in-store and online resources.
  • Lowe’s introduced a program in 2014 to develop its pipeline of women leaders, pairing vice presidents with women store managers to develop and expand Lowe’s leadership team. This year, the company will leverage the program with a new group of store managers and launch a new mentoring program to pair women and minority store managers with market directors whose expertise will support leadership development.

To learn more about these activities, visit Lowes.com/SocialResponsibility. Feedback is welcome at SocialResponsibility@Lowes.com.

Download a PDF of the 2014 report

About Lowe’s
Lowe’s Companies, Inc. (NYSE: LOW) is a FORTUNE® 100 home improvement company serving approximately 16 million customers a week in the United States, Canada and Mexico through its stores and online at Lowes.com, Lowes.ca and Lowes.com.mx. With fiscal year 2014 sales of $56.2 billion, Lowe’s has 1,840 home improvement and hardware stores and more than 265,000 employees. Founded in 1946 and based in Mooresville, N.C., Lowe’s supports the communities it serves through programs that focus on K-12 public education and community improvement projects. For more information, visit Lowes.com.

Contact

If you’re a journalist working on a story about Lowe’s:
704-758-2917

PublicRelations@lowes.com

For customer inquiries:
1-800-445-6937

H&M launches shop online in Bulgaria, Bulgaria and Slovakia

STOCKHOLM, 2015-4-13 — /EPR Retail News/ — We are proud to announce that we successfully welcomed our Slovak, Hungarian and Bulgarian customers to a new and extended online experience on April 9th.

H&M’s Shop Online will offer the same collections online as in-store giving customers access to a wide range of clothing and accessories including ladies, men’s, teens and a full children’s line. There will also be exclusive “online-only” items available all year-round.

The Shop Online launch will also include H&M Home. H&M Home brings fashion and fun to interiors with a seasonal selection of products for every room in your home.

Besides great fashion collections for the entire family, H&M Home will let our customers access the trendiest decorative items for their home with a very good quality and always for the very good H&M prices. Online shopping at hm.com completes the H&M experience.
For more information:

Bulgaria
Anna Velikova, PR Manager
Email.: anna.velikova@hm.com

Hungary
Nagy Szilvia, Marketing Manager
Email: szilvia.nagy@hm.com

Slovakia
Ewa Jarzemska, H&M Sales Market East Marketing & PR Manager
Email: ewa.jarzemska@hm.com

Richard Solomons appointed to Marks and Spencer Group’s Board as Non-Executive Director

LONDON, 2015-4-13 — /EPR Retail News/ —  Marks and Spencer Group plc (“M&S”) today announces the appointment of Richard Solomons to its Board as a Non-Executive Director. He will take up his appointment on 13 April 2015 and will also join the Nomination Committee at that time.

Richard is currently Chief Executive Officer of InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG). Richard joined IHG (and its predecessor and affiliated companies) in 1992 and worked in a number of senior roles, including operational, across the business until his appointment to the Board of IHG as Chief Financial Officer in 2003. He was appointed CEO in July 2011.  Richard will bring strong commercial, financial, consumer, branding and global experience to the M&S Board.

Commenting on the appointment, Robert Swannell, Chairman of Marks & Spencer said: “We are delighted to welcome Richard Solomons to the Board of M&S. He is a CEO with a proven track record in a global consumer business and will bring a wealth of relevant experience.”

Richard Solomons said: “I am looking forward to joining the Board of M&S and contributing to the continuing development of this iconic, innovative and trusted brand.”

– Ends –

For more information, please call:

M&S Corporate PR    0208 718 1919
Notes to Editors:

  • Richard has been Chief Executive Officer of IHG since July 2011. IHG is a global organisation with a broad portfolio of brands including InterContinental® Hotels & Resorts, Holiday Inn® Hotels & Resorts and Crowne Plaza® Hotels & Resorts. IHG franchises, leases, manages or owns over 4,800 hotels and more than 710,000 guest rooms in nearly 100 countries. Over 350,000 people work across IHG’s hotels and corporate offices worldwide.
  • Richard has led the continued growth of IHG, including the launch of the company’s two newest brands, HUALUXE Hotels and Resorts, the first international hotel brand tailored for the domestic Chinese customer and EVEN Hotels, the first mainstream wellness hotel brand. He has also overseen the re-launch of IHG’s loyalty scheme as IHG Rewards Club, the world’s first and largest hotel loyalty programme with over 82 million members worldwide.
  • Prior to his appointment as CEO, Richard served as Chief Financial Officer and Head of Commercial Development at IHG. He was integral in shaping and implementing IHG’s asset-light strategy, which has helped the business grow significantly since it was formed in 2003 as well as supporting the return of £10.4 billion to shareholders. He was also responsible for the Group’s financial affairs and investor relations. In 2008, he served as Interim President of IHG’s Americas business.
  • Richard first joined Bass PLC (later Six Continents PLC), the company from which IHG emerged, in June 1992. He subsequently held a number of senior roles in the business including Chief Operating Officer of the Americas Hotels division, before being appointed Finance Director of the company in March 2003. In this role he oversaw the separation of IHG from Six Continents later in 2003 and then the disposal of its 100% holding in the soft drinks business, Britvic plc in late 2005.
  • Prior to joining IHG Richard worked in Investment banking for seven years with Hill Samuel Bank, based in New York and London.
  • Richard is a member of the Executive Committee of the World Travel and Tourism Council, a member of the Industry Real Estate Financing Authority Advisory Council and a Governor of the Aviation and Travel Industry Group of the World Economic Forum.

MEDIA CONTACTS

 

UN refugee agency UNHCR thanks IKEA customers and co-workers for supporting ‘Brighter Lives for Refugees’

Conshohocken, PA, 2015-4-13 — /EPR Retail News/ — UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, thanks IKEA customers and co-workers for supporting ‘Brighter Lives for Refugees’, a global cause-related campaign that raised $11.6 million* for refugees this year. In just the US, IKEA raised over $1 million and sold 1,031,275 LEDARE bulbs. The campaign ran in IKEA stores globally from February 1 to March 28, 2015. During this period, for every LED light bulb purchased by an IKEA customer, the IKEA Foundation donated $1 to UNHCR. The funds raised by the campaign will help improve the lives of 380,000 refugees in Bangladesh, Chad, Ethiopia and Jordan by providing education opportunities, solar street lights, solar lanterns and other renewable energy solutions.

Since the campaign started in 2014, these activities have been accomplished:

  • 11,000 Syrian refugees living in Azraq camp in Jordan are able to move around safely after approximately 500 solar street lights and LED street lights were installed.
  • Over 40,000 families living in refugee camps around Dollo Ado in Ethiopia will have a life after dark as 40,000 solar lanterns and 240 street lights are being delivered now.
  • Over 13,000 refugee children are enrolled in primary school in Chad so they can continue with their education.

“The number of displaced people worldwide has, for the first time since World War II, exceeded 50 million people, including 13 million refugees who are under UNHCR’s care. In this context, the engagement of the public worldwide through our long-standing partner the IKEA Foundation has never been more important. I greatly appreciate the efforts of IKEA co-workers and the support of the customers who participated in this global campaign so that we can make the lives of thousands of refugees better and brighter,” said UN Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees T. Alexander Aleinikoff.

Per Heggenes, CEO of the IKEA Foundation added, “thanks to IKEA’s co-workers and customers, thousands of refugee children and families will now have access to sustainable energy and lighting. Simple activities like sharing a family meal, doing homework and important social gatherings will now be possible for some of the most vulnerable people on our planet.”

*one euro = $1.08 US dollar 4/7/2015

Contact: Mona Astra Liss. IKEA US Corporate PR Director. Mona.Liss@IKEA.com. 610.834.0180, ext. 5852

About IKEA Group
The IKEA vision is to create a better everyday life for the many people. Our business idea supports this vision by offering a wide range of well-designed, functional home furnishing products at prices so low that as many people as possible will be able to afford them. There are currently 315 IKEA Group stores in 27 countries. Additionally, there are 40 IKEA stores run by franchises. There are 40 IKEA stores in the US. In FY 14, IKEA Group had 716 million visitors to the stores and 1.5 billion visitors to IKEA.com. IKEA incorporates sustainability into day-to-day business and supports initiatives that benefit children and the environment. For more information, please visit www.IKEA.com, facebook.com/IKEAUSA, @IKEAUSANews, @IKEAUSA, http://pinterest.com/IKEAUSA/, www.youtube.com/IKEAUSA, www.theshare-space.com, www.theshare-space.com/en/Blog

About IKEA Foundation
The IKEA Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the Swedish home furnishings company IKEA, aims to improve opportunities for children and youth in some of the world’s poorest communities by funding holistic, long-term programmes that can create substantial, lasting change. The IKEA Foundation works with strong strategic partners applying innovative approaches to achieve large-scale results in four fundamental areas of a child’s life: a place to call home; a healthy start in life; a quality education; and a sustainable family income. Learn more at www.IKEAfoundation.org and www.facebook.com/IKEAfoundation

About UNHCR
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees was established on December 14, 1950 by the United Nations General Assembly. The agency is mandated to lead and co-ordinate international action to protect refugees and resolve refugee problems worldwide. Its primary purpose is to safeguard the rights and well-being of refugees. It strives to ensure that everyone can exercise the right to seek asylum and find safe refuge in another State, with the option to return home voluntarily, integrate locally or to resettle in a third country. It also has a mandate to help stateless people. In more than six decades, the agency has helped tens of millions of people restart their lives. Today, a staff of some 8,600 people in more than 125 countries continues to help some 33.9 million persons. Learn more at www.unhcr.org and www.facebook.com/UNHCR

Press Contact Information

USA CORPORATE PUBLIC RELATIONS
Mona Astra Liss
1-610-834-0180 x 5852

USA PRODUCT PUBLIC RELATIONS
Janice Simonsen
1-610-834-0180 x 6349

USA EXPANSION
Joseph Roth
1-610-834-0180 x 6500

X5 Retail Group completed the integration of 103 Pokupochka stores into the store base of Pyaterochka

Samara, 2015-4-13 — /EPR Retail News/ — X5 Retail Group (‘X5’ or the ‘Company’), a leading Russian food retailer, announced today that the Company has completed the successful integration of 103 Pokupochka stores, in the Samara Region, into the store base of Pyaterochka, the Company’s proximity store format.

X5 acquired the stores in October 2014 and the integration, including refurbishment and rebranding, was launched in November 2014. On 12 April, in downtown Volzhsky, the last store was rebranded as Pyaterochka.

All 103 stores were refurbished and rebranded in-line with the new Pyaterochka concept and most of the 1,000 employees were retained after completing supplementary training courses that were aligned with retail best practices and modern retail standards.

Currently, the Pyaterochka retail chain comprises 281 stores in the Samara Region. On top of that, there are 16 Perekrestok supermarkets and five Karusel hypermarkets also operating in the Region. The total number of employees working for X5 in the Samara Region is approximately 6,000, including employees of the three retail chains, two distribution centers and administrative offices.

The addition of the new Pyaterochka stores in the Samara Region opens up broader opportunities for local producers to sell and promote their goods. The share of local suppliers in the product mix offered by Х5’s Samara stores stands at between 30–35%, climbing as high as 70–90% in a select group of categories, such as bakery and confectionery, grocery and dairy products.

Note to Editors:

X5 Retail Group N.V. (LSE: FIVE, Fitch – ‘BB’, Moody’s – ‘B2’, S&P – ‘B+’) is a leading Russian food retailer. The Company operates several retail formats: the chain of proximity stores under the Pyaterochka brand, the supermarket chain under the Perekrestok brand, the hypermarket chain under the Karusel brand and Express convenience stores under various brands.

At 31 March 2015, X5 had 5,639 Company-operated stores. It has the leading market position in both Moscow and St. Petersburg and a significant presence in the European part of Russia. Its store base includes 4,958 Pyaterochka proximity stores, 405 Perekrestok supermarkets, 83 Karusel hypermarkets and 193 convenience stores. The Company operates 33 DCs and 1,407 Company-owned trucks across the Russian Federation.

For the full year 2014, revenue totaled RUB 633,873 mln (USD 16,498 mln), EBITDA reached RUB 45,860 mln (USD 1,194 mln), and profit for the period amounted to RUB 12,691 mln (USD 330 mln).

X5’s Shareholder structure is as follows: Alfa Group – 47.86%, founders of Pyaterochka – 14.43%, X5 Directors – 0.04%, treasury shares – 0.04%, free float – 37.63%.

Contact:
Anastasiya Kvon
IR Director
Tel.: +7 (495) 792-3511
e-mail: Anastasiya.Kvon@x5.ru

Standard and Poor’s rating agency upgraded X5 Retail Group’s credit rating from “В+” to “ВB-” with a stable outlook

Amsterdam, 2015-4-13 — /EPR Retail News/ — X5 Retail Group N.V., (‘X5’ or the ‘Company’) a leading Russian food retailer (LSE ticker: ‘FIVE’), announces that the Standard and Poor’s rating agency upgraded the Company’s credit rating from “В+” to “ВB-” with a stable outlook. In the report, S&P noted considerable improvements in the Company’s 2014 operating results and its overall financial strength as the key drivers for the upgrade.

Elena Milinova, X5’s CFO, commented:

‘We believe that the Company’s credit rating upgrade is well-timed and reflects our positive operating and financial performance, coupled with a conservative approach to managing the balance sheet. Going forward, we expect the improved rating will help us bring down our borrowing costs.’

Note to Editors:
X5 Retail Group N.V. (LSE: FIVE, Fitch – ‘BB’, Moody’s – ‘B2’, S&P – ‘BB-’) is a leading Russian food retailer. The Company operates several retail formats: the chain of proximity stores under the Pyaterochka brand, the supermarket chain under the Perekrestok brand, the hypermarket chain under the Karusel brand and Express convenience stores under various brands.

At 31 March 2015, X5 had 5,639 Company-operated stores. It has the leading market position in both Moscow and St. Petersburg and a significant presence in the European part of Russia. Its store base includes 4,958 Pyaterochka proximity stores, 405 Perekrestok supermarkets, 83 Karusel hypermarkets and 193 convenience stores. The Company operates 33 DCs and 1,407 Company-owned trucks across the Russian Federation.

For the full year 2014, revenue totaled RUB 633,873 mln (USD 16,498 mln), EBITDA reached RUB 45,860 mln (USD 1,194 mln), and profit for the period amounted to RUB 12,691 mln (USD 330 mln).

X5’s Shareholder structure is as follows: Alfa Group – 47.86%, founders of Pyaterochka – 14.43%, X5 Directors – 0.04%, treasury shares – 0.04%, free float – 37.63%.

Contact:
Anastasiya Kvon
IR Director
Tel.: +7 (495) 792-3511
e-mail: Anastasiya.Kvon@x5.ru

Casper Meijer steps down as Group Trading Director at Morrisons

Casper Meijer is to step down as Group Trading Director at Morrisons with immediate effect.

Bradford, England, 2015-4-13 — /EPR Retail News/ — Casper’s family remain in The Netherlands and he has decided not to commit to living a fuller part of his life in Britain.

The external search for his successor will commence immediately.

Casper was appointed to the Morrisons Management Board in December 2012 and has since then been leading the company’s trading strategy with the objective of delivering lower prices, fewer and bigger promotions and a simpler shopping trip.

Morrisons Chief Executive David Potts said: “Casper has played an important role in starting the process of making Morrisons better value-for-money for customers. However, we both believe now is the right time for this crucial role to be taken by an executive who will dedicate all their efforts to living and working here in Britain.”

Andrew Pleasance, with nearly 30 years in the business working closely with our supply base, will take on the role of Group Trading Director on an interim basis.

Media contact
For all media enquiries call
0845 611 5111
Available 24 hours

Morrisons: sales of garden refuse sacks increased by 250% last week

Bradford, England, 2015-4-13 — /EPR Retail News/ — Morrisons saw sales of garden refuse sacks increase 250% last week, as many British homes mowed their lawn for the first time this year according to in-house traders.

Simon Williams, Buying Manager at Morrisons said: “April’s usually well known for its showers, but the school holidays and this warm weather prompted homes to take their garden in hand.”

Compost sales also grew by 175% and bedding plant sales increased by 400% compared to the same week last year. Pansy sales increased by 25%, mixed bedding plants sales increased by 50% and Sweet Pea & Vida sales doubled.

Tom Woodhouse, responsible for bedding plants at Morrisons said: “The good weather undeniably drew us in to the garden last week and it provided great growing conditions for bedding plants.

“Demand was so strong last week that we saw enough bedding plants leave our shelves to stretch some 130km if lined up.”

Media contact
For all media enquiries call
0845 611 5111
Available 24 hours

###

CBRE analysis: U.S. commercial real estate market showed continued strength in Q1 2015

  • Office Vacancy Continues to Decline
  • Industrial and Apartment Demand Strong

Los Angeles, 2015-4-13 — /EPR Retail News/ — The U.S. commercial real estate market showed continued strength across all property types in the first quarter of 2015 (Q1 2015), according to the latest analysis from CBRE Group, Inc.

  • The office vacancy rate* declined by 10 basis points (bps) from the previous quarter to 13.9% in Q1 2015. The office vacancy rate has fallen 100 bps over the past four quarters, and now sits at its lowest mark since 2008.
  • In Q1 2015, national industrial availability1 dropped 20 bps from Q4, to 10.1%—a full percentage point below the year-ago level.
  • Retail demand remained steady with the Q1 2015 availability of 11.5%, unchanged from the prior quarter.
  • Demand for the nation’s apartment buildings remained strong with vacancy of 4.5% in Q1 2015.

“Continued improvement in office vacancy will be dependent on the pace of hiring,” said Jeffrey Havsy, Americas Chief Economist for CBRE. “We believe March’s relatively weak job growth was a pause, but should that trend continue several markets with heavy construction activity could see a reversal in the recent trend toward lower vacancy.”

Office Market
Q1 2015 marked the 12th consecutive quarter of office vacancy rate declines. The trend remains broad-based across U.S. office markets. Vacancy fell in 41 of the 62 markets, rose in 18, and remained unchanged in three. Absorption of office space in the quarter was 9.5 million sq. ft.  Suburban markets drove the overall improvement with a decline of 20 bps to 15.4%. Performance in downtown markets was mixed; vacancy increases in several large metros pushed the downtown rate up 10 bps during the quarter, to 11.2%.

Newark, San Jose and Las Vegas recorded the largest quarterly declines in Q1 2015, each above 100 bps. Over the past year, markets in the South and West have seen the greatest improvement. Among these are Orange County, Austin, Salt Lake City, San Jose, Las Vegas and Raleigh. The nation’s lowest vacancy rates in Q1 were in San Francisco (7.1%), Austin (7.9%), Pittsburgh (9.2%) and New York (9.3%).

“Economic fundamentals point to a sustained U.S. expansion in 2015, with businesses more confident than they were earlier in the recovery cycle,” noted Mr. Havsy.”There remains pent-up demand in key segments such as housing and subdued inflation will allow the Federal Reserve to keep interest rates low for several more months, helping to support above-trend growth.”

Industrial Market
The industrial real estate recovery has now continued for 19 quarters, the longest uninterrupted stretch of declining availability since CBRE began tracking industrial market activity in 1980. The start of 2015 saw the vast majority of markets continue to improve—41 reported declines in availability, while four remained unchanged and 12 recorded increases.

Lower availability rates were widespread across markets of all sizes and in all regions. The recovery has been rolling long enough that fewer markets are now reporting dramatic drops in availability; the vast majority of Q1 2015’s declines were less than 50 basis points. In fact, “recovery” can be replaced with “expansion” for some markets; a handful have seen availability rates fall below prior cycle lows and rent growth exceed prior highs. Among the 10 largest markets, all but two declined; Dallas and Philadelphia reported slight increases (30 and 10 bps, respectively) during the quarter. Atlanta (-50 bps) and New York (-40 bps) led with the strongest declines.

In addition, Mr. Havsy noted that “industrial activity in Q1 doesn’t appear to have been impacted by the West Coast port slowdown. All the major ports in that region saw vacancy declines last quarter.”

Retail Market
Retail availability remained unchanged between Q4 2014 and Q1 2015. However, availability at year end 2014 was 50 bps below its year-earlier rate and is now 180 bps below the post-recession peak of 13.3%. 34 of the 62 markets tracked had availability decline in Q1 2015, while 28 recorded flat or increasing rates. Forty-three markets have improved upon their rates from one year ago.

Kansas City, Baltimore and Las Vegas were among those recording rising availability rates in Q1 2015. Availability rate declines of 50 bps or more from the previous quarter were recorded in Austin, Louisville and Trenton. The lowest availability rate recorded in Q1 2015 (5.5%) was in San Francisco, while the highest (16.8%) was in Trenton.

“Sluggish retail sales numbers continue to weigh heavily on the retail leasing market,” said Mr. Havsy. “Until personal income and retail sales rise at a faster pace, it is hard to see retail absorption increasing more rapidly.”

Apartment Market
Preliminary data shows that apartment demand continued to grow in Q1 2015, with the multifamily housing vacancy rate declining to 4.5%, a 40 bps drop from a year earlier. This represents a continuation of a persistent downward trend in national vacancy rates that began several years ago. The market is very tight and apartment demand remains strong as the vacancy rate pushes closer to its 20-year vacancy low of 3.7%.

Compared to a year earlier, vacancy rates declined in 51 of the 61 markets, while rising in seven and staying the same in three. The following 15 markets experienced the greatest year-over-year declines (of 80 bps or more): Memphis, Jacksonville, Greenville, Fort Worth, Indianapolis, Las Vegas, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, Birmingham, San Antonio, Tampa, Atlanta, Phoenix, Chicago, and Houston.  Among those posting Q1 vacancy rates of 3% or lower were Portland, Newark, Minneapolis, Oakland, Miami, and Los Angeles.

With occupancy remaining high by historical standards, effective rent growth is expected to stay strong well into 2015, provided U.S. economic growth remains steady. Relatively high effective rent levels (exceeding pre-recession peaks in most major markets) have brought increased apartment construction starts in considerable numbers over the past year. Although construction places downward pressure on rents, the market is tight enough to absorb this activity—especially if demand growth keeps pace with economic growth.

*CBRE EA has transitioned to Census 2010 metropolitan area definitions. Under the new definitions, Edison is no longer classified as a market; its submarkets have been merged into New York and Newark. Historical data will differ from what was previously reported.

1 Availability is space that is actively being marketed and available for tenant build-out within 12 months.

About CBRE Group, Inc.
CBRE Group, Inc. (NYSE:CBG), a Fortune 500 and S&P 500 company headquartered in Los Angeles, is the world’s largest commercial real estate services and investment firm (in terms of 2014 revenue).  The Company has more than 52,000 employees (excluding affiliates), and serves real estate owners, investors and occupiers through more than 370 offices (excluding affiliates) worldwide. CBRE offers strategic advice and execution for property sales and leasing; corporate services; property, facilities and project management; mortgage banking; appraisal and valuation; development services; investment management; and research and consulting. Please visit our website at www.cbre.com.

For Further Information

Robert Mcgrath
T +1 212 9848267
email