Monday Report
Here's to a good year for all of us! January 5th 2009





  • International Business Confidence
  • Overall business confidence improved just a bit at the close of 2008 but remains very dark, with hiring intentions and expectations regarding the outlook in mid-2009 dropping to record lows. Businesses are about equally pessimistic in North America, South America and Europe, and while Asian business confidence is not quite as dark, it is weakening rapidly. Sentiment is bad across all industries but dropped to a new low among global manufacturers. Businesses have little pricing power. The entire global economy is mired in recession, according to the business confidence survey results.
  • ECRI Weekly Leading Index
  • The ECRI Weekly Leading Index increased to 108 for the week ending December 26 from a revised 106.8 (previously 106.6). The smoothed, annualized growth rate rose to -28.7% from an unrevised -29.2%. This is the third consecutive improvement, but does not alter the ECRI's overall downward trend. Significant deterioration in the ECRI suggests a severe downturn that will last well into 2009.
  • Semiconductor Billings
  • Global semiconductor sales fell by a massive 8.2% m/m in November to $20.8 billion on a three- month moving average basis. In annual terms, sales fell by 9.9%. This is considerably weaker than typical seasonal trends, if not for falling memory chip prices, annual sales would be stronger.
  • Jobless Claims
  • Initial jobless claims decreased by 94,000 to 492,000 for the week ending December 27. Far fewer initial claims were filed than expected. The week did, however, include Christmas, and holidays have been known to be more volatile for this indicator. Overall, labor market trends have indicated persistent weakening.
  • MBA Mortgage Applications Survey
  • In the week ending December 26, the MBA composite market index showed the slightest increase to close the week at 1,245.7. After weeks of improving, the refinance index decreased to 6,733.8, down 0.4%. The purchase index, however, increased 1.4% this week to close at 320.9.
  • Oil and Gas Inventories
  • Crude oil inventories increased by 500,000 barrels during the week ending December 26, according to the Energy Information Administration. The consensus expectation was for a decline of 1.5 million barrels. Distillate supplies increased by 700,000 barrels, below expectations of a 1.1 million barrel increase. Gasoline inventories rose by 800,000 barrels, well below expectations of a 1.5 million barrel increase.
  • Natural Gas Storage Report
  • Working gas in underground storage decreased by 143 billion cubic feet during the week ending December 26. The consensus estimate was for a decline of 151 billion cubic feet.


    Sandella's Café

  • Sandella's LLC trades as Sandella's Café at 150 locations nationwide.
  • The upscale, fast casual cafes offer sandwiches, paninis, quesadillas, salads, grilled flatbreads, rice bowls, smoothies, coffee and teas, and occupy spaces of 1,000 sq.ft. to 1,500 sq.ft. in strip centers and urban/downtown areas.
  • Growth opportunities are sought throughout the existing market during the coming 18 months.
  • Preferred cotenants include super grocery stores, bookstores, movie theaters, spas and other high volume retailers.
  • The company prefers to locate in areas with a strong residential and daytime population.
  • For more information, contact
    • Walter Damilowski, Sandella's LLC,
    • 9 Brookside Place, West Redding, CT 06896;
    • Web site:

    Le Creuset Store and Le Creuset Outlet Store

  • Le Creuset of America, Inc. trades as Le Creuset Store and Le Creuset Outlet Store at 48 locations throughout 25 states nationwide.
  • The houswares stores, offering cooking and kitchen items made of iron, steel, clay and silicone, occupy spaces of 1,500 sq.ft. to 2,500 sq.ft. in freestanding locations, downtown areas and lifestyle, outlet and specialty centers.
  • Growth opportunities are sought throughout the existing market during the coming 18 months.
  • For more information, contact
    • Catherine Miller,
    • Le Creuset of America, Inc.,
    • 114 Bob Gifford Boulevard, Early Branch, SC 29916

    Boston's - The Gourmet Pizza

  • Boston's - The Gourmet Pizza operates 350 locations nationwide and throughout Canada and Mexico.
  • The full-service casual dining gourmet pizzerias, featuring a sports bar and offering gourmet pasta, wings, ribs, burgers, salads and sandwiches, occupy spaces of 6,200 sq.ft. to 7,000 sq.ft. in freestanding locations, endcaps, power centers and malls.
  • Growth opportunities are sought throughout southern CA during the coming 18 months, with representation by Retail Net Lease Properties, Inc.
  • The company prefers to locate in freestanding locations and endcaps with a patio.
  • For more information regarding Boston's - The Gourmet Pizza, contact
    • Charlie Cangelosi or
    • Tom Dose,
    • Retail Net Lease Properties, Inc.,
    • 360 North Sepulveda Boulevard, Suite 1020,
    • El Segundo, CA 90245;
    • Web sites: or


  • Dots, LLC trades as Dots at 411 locations throughout the Northeast, Midwest, Southeast and Mid- Atlantic, in addition to TX.
  • The stores, offering women's apparel at affordable prices, occupy spaces of 4,000 sq.ft. to 5,000 sq.ft. in power, specialty and strip centers.
  • Plans call for 50 to 75 openings throughout the existing markets during the coming 18 months.
  • Typical leases run five years with three, five-year options.
  • A vanilla shell is required.
  • Preferred cotenants include grocery stores and Wal*Mart.
  • Preferred demographics include a population of 90,000 within three miles earning $55,000 as the average household income.
  • For more information, contact
    • John Clark,
    • Dots, LLC,
    • 30801 Carter Street,
    • Solon, OH 44139;
    • Web site:

    Melrose Family Fashions and Melrose

  • United Fashions of Texas trades as Melrose Family Fashions and Melrose at 94 locations.
  • Melrose Family Fashion prefers to occupy second- generation spaces of 8,000 sq.ft. to 12,000 sq.ft. in strip centers.
  • The company prefers to locate in grocery-and discount-anchored centers, with a minimum GLA of 50,000 sq.ft.
  • Preferred cotenants include apparel, dollar and rental stores, as well as value priced retailers.
  • Melrose prefers to occupy spaces of 4,000 sq.ft. to 7,000 sq.ft. in malls and strip centers.
  • Growth opportunities are sought throughout AZ, CA, NM, NV and TX during the coming 18 months.
  • Preferred demographics for both concepts include a population of 50,000 within two miles earning $30,000 to $40,000 as the average household income.
  • For more information, contact
    • Koyt Everhart,
    • United Fashions of Texas,
    • 4629 Macro Drive,
    • San Antonio, TX 78218;
    • Web site:

  • Note: The following is clearly written for nonprofits, but much is applicable to all entities including public organizations

    Thanks Bob Springmeyer

    And Now for Something Different About Nonprofits and the Economy 1/1/09

    • Unhappy New Year! . . . as the nonprofit chorus seems to be singing. As if we don't need more troubles on top of the ultra-negative projections about the economy, the advice about what nonprofits should do is depressingly empty. Whenever we see something like "Fundraising in Challenging Times," we feel compelled to read it: What if the magic answer's here?! But after reading these articles and hearing these speeches, we feel, well, unsatisfied.
    • Scanning dozens of "what to do" lists recently, their lack of nutrition seems to fall into three groups. A lot of the advice is too abstract and even pious: "Focus on the mission" or "Be strategic." I'm reminded of a nonprofit exec from the for-profit sector who reflected that she had given out such advice as a board member and then, when receiving it as an executive director, couldn't believe how obnoxious it was. Other suggestions such as, "Monitor expenses closely," and "Delay the start of capital projects" are good advice but kind of "duh." And then there's the good advice (like "Diversify your revenue streams") that's good advice the same way "lose weight" and "achieve inner peace" are good advice: the reason we aren't doing it isn't because it hadn't occurred to us.
    • As is too often the case, the advice from the philanthropic-consultant industrial complex is enough to make a person depressed or even angry. I heard a well-known nonprofit guru tell an audience, "And when we were really stuck about what to do, I picked up the phone and called my friend Al Gore." I felt like throwing a shoe at him! How is this a replicable, usable strategy?
    • Here are four ideas that may or may not be better than the others, but at least you may not have heard them before:
      1. Declare an emergency. When people have permission to think and act out of the normal grooves, they can be bolder, more creative, energized, or at least more ready to accept changes. So say it out loud: "We are in an emergency period (or we are going into an emergency period). Our funding looks okay through the next four months, but there's a good shot we'll get some bad news starting then. We need to start making changes and coming up with some contingency plans that go beyond what we've done before." An emergency doesn't mean people should panic . . . an emergency means considering the bold and wacky ideas that are either brand new or used to be off the table.
      2. Schedule worrying for later. Your nonprofit may be on a growth curve, and/or you have looked at your revenue projections and things are okay. Don't feel guilty if you aren't worrying just because everyone else is. And for many people, it's smarter not to make decisions until, for instance, you hear from the county agency that funds you or you see what the February dinner brings in. Instead of worrying, try a few scenario exercises: "Let's imagine that by next quarter we've heard that our biggest grant won't be renewed. What will we wish we had done three months before?"
      3. Do less with less. Of course there is more need, more demand, and we probably have less money. And we love the gritty heartfelt nature of the cry, "We need to do more with less!" Pause. But it's not only unsustainable, it probably means you will be able to do even less in the future. If a program's funding has been cut by 30%, you may need to do 30% less. The best decision may be to be open fewer days a week, hold fewer performances, or stop taking children over 5. On the other hand, working harder might be necessary, at least for awhile, but only if it's to get to a different business model.
      4. Ask for help, even if you don't know what would help. Yes, I'm talking about you executive directors. Especially you. As an ED watching the gruesome implosion of a nearby nonprofit, I once said to a fellow ED, "There but for the grace of God go we." She disagreed: "That wouldn't happen to us. We would ask for help." I realized that as executives we only like to tell the board about a problem if we already have a solution in mind. It's much harder to go and say, "Help. I don't know what to do."
      5. Call a community summit on your behalf, and see if they can support you. In the end, we can only do what our constituents will support us to do. A near-broke community center we know called together their funders, friends, and community leaders and laid out their situation. In effect they said, "We know we've made mistakes and that we're still flawed. If you all think we're worth saving, we need you to save us now. If you - our constituencies - can't or won't step in, we can't do it on our own. And now we're going to leave the room so you can discuss what you can do or can't do to help us."
    • A colleague once told me his "Four Commandments":
      1. Show up.
      2. Pay attention.
      3. Do your best.
      4. Let go.
    • What more can any of us do, really?
    • Here's to a good year for all of us.
    • Source: Board Café - Blue Avacado,

    Next Week - A 360-Degree Look at Your Organization: Seeing Ourselves as Others See Us

    Blue Avacado
  • Home sweet home: The future of American malls

    There are more than 2,000 malls in the U.S., and the face of the mall as we know it is changing. While open-air malls, as opposed to enclosed shopping centers, are on the rise, so are the possibilities for mall-based housing. Many new projects have attached housing complexes to malls as part of a strategy to develop them as lifestyle and community centers in addition to shopping destinations.

    Source: ICSC, 2008

    Wal-Mart alone among retailers expected to see December sales gains

    Wal-Mart is the lone retailer expected to make gains for December, projected to see a 2.8% increase for the month as the rest of the industry drops 6.3%. The retailer "is winning because it provides its customers with more value and merchandise," one analyst said. "That's so important right now because consumers are extremely careful with their money."

    Source: ICSC, 2008

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