Archive for July, 2018

Starbucks Feels the Heat of Competition

Amid slowing growth in an increasingly crowded market, Starbucks announced it will close 150 under-performing, company-operated U.S stores in 2019. Historically, the Seattle-based chain has closed about 50 stores per year. The upcoming store closings will occur primarily in urban markets saturated with Starbucks locations. However, Starbucks’ sales are also slowing, as the company expects just 1% growth in same-store sales for the third quarter of 2018—the worst performance in about nine years.  One reason is increasing competition from trendy, independent neighborhood coffee shops and artisan roast cafes that offer customers an experience.  In addition to the more upscale, independent coffee shops, competition is heating up from lower-priced fast-food chains, including Dunkin’ Donuts and McDonald’s.

Read more

Expect Chinese Investor Sell-Off to Impact CRE Values

Chinese investors are dumping their commercial real estate investments, under pressure from the Chinese government as a result of the escalating trade war between the U.S. and China.  According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, Chinese investors sold $1.29 billion of U.S. CRE in the second quarter of 2018, while purchasing less than 1/10th of that amount. This is the first time the Chinese have been net sellers in 10 years.  Just as heavy Chinese investment activity previously boosted prices for U.S. commercial properties, a massive sell-off will likely put downward pressure on them.

Read more

San Diego Economy Shows Signs of Slowing

The University of San Diego‘s latest economic forecast showed the second monthly decline in a row, raising concerns about a slowdown in the local economy.  The Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate’s Index of Leading Economic Indicators for San Diego County, released last week, fell 0.2 percent in May following a decline of equal magnitude in April.  A decrease in help-wanted advertising, higher initial claims for unemployment insurance and a decline in residential building permits pushed the index down.  “Economists usually look for three moves in the same direction for a leading index to indicate a turning point in the economy,” wrote Professor Alan Gin in his report Thursday. “This hasn’t happened yet, so the outlook for the local economy remains positive for now,” he noted. However, he added, any number of things could adversely affect San Diego’s economy, “including rising gas prices, rising interest rates, high housing prices making it difficult for companies to attract and retain workers, a trade war leading to barriers against San Diego companies, local government budget problems, increased taxes on some San Diegans due to the 2017 tax reforms, and turmoil in the health care markets as elements of the Affordable Care Act are eliminated.”  The San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce earlier reported that business optimism in the region had declined to a five-month low.

Read more