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Developer: Value retail still drives center success

Time Equities Inc.’s purchase of the 142,190-sq.-ft. Citrus Center in Inverness, Florida, this month was a no-brainer, according to the commercial real estate company’s retail chief.

“This was straight down the fairway for us,” said TEI’s director of national retail Ami Ziff. “It’s a stabilized center that’s been leased above 90% for the last five years. It’s one of the best shopping centers in town, anchored by TJ Maxx, and we see growth potential for rents.”

Aggressive expansion of TJX and Ross Stores brands have had retail analysts questioning whether the value segment has become saturated. Ziff, meanwhile, predicts continued growth for value retail.

“I think it’s a market-by-market issue. If we’re opening a TJ Maxx and the closest TJ Maxx is 20 miles away, that’s not a problem,” he said.

The way Ziff sees it, value retailing mirrors what’s going on in the consumer economy as a whole.

“The middle is getting squeezed, just like the middle class is getting squeezed. You have luxury retailers doing well selling jeans for $200 and dd’s Discounts doing well selling them for $15, but Banana Republic having trouble selling jeans for $100,” Ziff observed. “I wouldn’t underestimate how smart these discount retailers are.”