In New York City, storefronts in Manhattan have hit their highest vacancy rates since 2001. Citywide, the vacancies stand at 12.4 percent; on some important shopping lanes, like tony Madison Avenue, the rate is more than 15%. (This author rode up Madison Avenue in a cab recently and spotted more than one empty storefront per block.)
Experts estimate rents may fall as much as 23% by the end of next year. Which, while bad for real estate companies, presents a bargain opportunity for retailers ready to capitalize toward the end of the recession.