Make us your home page
Instagram

Retail growth plans halted by economy

An economic recovery some see coming in 2010 may seem a long way off, but it triggered late-night sweats among developers eager to start building $435-million in local retail projects slated to open by then.

A 2010 opening means construction must start in 2009 for projects with an all-clear from government planners. Yet the credit crunch, frugal shoppers and skittish retailers have stalled the retail boom along the Interstate 75 corridor east of Tampa south to Sarasota.

A growing crowd is waiting for the clouds to part.

Prime Outlets Ellenton put its 30-store, $35-million expansion on indefinite hold. Benderson Development stalled the start of University Towne Center at University Parkway in Sarasota, which is to be anchored by Nord­strom, Macy's and Neiman Marcus, until a 2011 or later opening after Neiman asked to wait. SouthShore Commons, a $200-million, outdoor big box store and Main Street-style center that was to start this spring at I-75 and Big Bend Road in Riverview has been delayed to a 2011 opening.

"We've got Nationwide Realty as a partner, so it's not about the money," said Jay Miller, vice president of Cincinnati developer Equity Inc. "It's the economy, and at the request of two of our anchor retailers."

Barry Diller's pockets jingle all the way

Barry Diller's 13-year reign at St. Petersburg-based HSN made him a billionaire. The onetime Hollywood mogul used the TV shopping network as launchpad for relentless wheeling and dealing that created his e-commerce empire IAC/InterActiveCorp.

Shareholders didn't fare well with a return on investment of only 1.3 percent in 2007, but Diller came out in clover. He walked off with $184-million in compensation, mainly through stock grants and options. That was good enough to rank him as second-highest-paid CEO in the United States and Canada, according to an annual ranking from researchers at Corporate Library, right behind Oracle's Larry Ellison with $192-million.

It marked the third year in four that Diller made the top 10.

Diller's compensation equaled 2.9 percent of all IAC revenue. Add in his payout from Expedia Inc., the online travel Web site IAC spun off in 2007, and Diller would have been No. 1 again with $437-million.

Clock ticks down but shoppers stall in malls

Malls were jammed over the weekend. But with nine shopping days left until Christmas, people report spending less and are behind last year's pace stocking up for the holiday. Only 8 percent of shoppers are finished, while 41-million shoppers have yet to start. That's according to National Retail Federation research that found more people (66 percent) paying cash or using debit cards to spurn credit cards.

As if there weren't already enough factors conspiring against retailers, a false fire alarm interrupted the late afternoon action at International Plaza on Saturday.

See's Candies fans get sweet opportunity

Floridians hailing from out West have long claimed See's Candies is tops. Except for a store in Chicago, the candies aren't regularly found east of the Mississippi. Fans get such a craving for the chocolates that the San Francisco company owned by Warren Buffett set up shop with holiday season kiosks at area malls for the eighth year.

The chocolates are found locally at all three Westfield malls and International Plaza. Or you can buy See's online.

Mark Albright can be reached at albright@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8252.

Retail growth plans halted by economy 12/16/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, December 16, 2008 5:08pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Memorial Day sales not enough to draw shoppers to Tampa Bay malls

    Retail

    TAMPA — Memorial Day sales at Tampa Bay area malls were not enough to compete with the beach and backyard barbecues this holiday weekend.

    Memorial Day sales weren't enough to draw shoppers to Tampa Bay area malls over the long weekend. 
[JUSTINE GRIFFIN | Times]
  2. Austin software company acquires second Tampa business

    Corporate

    Austin, Tex.-based Asure Software acquired Tampa's Compass HRM Inc. late last week for $6 million. Compass focuses on HR and payroll.

    [Company photo]
  3. Hackers hide cyberattacks in social media posts

    Business

    SAN FRANCISCO — It took only one attempt for Russian hackers to make their way into the computer of a Pentagon official. But the attack didn't come through an email or a file buried within a seemingly innocuous document.

    Jay Kaplan and Mark Kuhr, former NSA employees and co-founders of Synack, a cybersecurity company, in their office in Palo Alto, Calif., in 2013. While last year's hacking of senior Democratic Party officials raised awareness of the damage caused if just a handful of employees click on the wrong emails, few people realize that a message on Twitter or Facebook could give an attacker similar access to their system. 
[New York Times file photo]
  4. Big rents and changing tastes drive dives off St. Pete's 600 block

    Music & Concerts

    ST. PETERSBURG — Kendra Marolf was behind the lobby bar of the State Theatre, pouring vodka sodas for a weeknight crowd packed tight for Bishop Briggs, the latest alternative artist to sell out her club.

    Sam Picciano, 25, left, of Tampa and Molly Cord 24, Palm Harbor shop for record albums for a friend at Daddy Kool Records located on the 600 block of Central Avenue in St. Petersburg, Florida on Saturday, May 20, 2017. OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times
  5. How Hollywood is giving its biggest stars digital facelifts

    Business

    LOS ANGELES — Johnny Depp is 53 years old but he doesn't look a day over 26 in the new "Pirates of the Caribbean" movie — at least for a few moments. There was no plastic surgeon involved, heavy makeup or archival footage used to take the actor back to his boyish "Cry Baby" face, however. It's all …

    This combination of photos released by Disney, shows the character Jack Sparrow at two stages of his life in "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales."  Johnny Depp, who portrays the character, is the latest mega-star to get the drastic de-aging treatment on screen
[Disney via Associated Press]