Get Real (Estate)

Renegotiating retail rents was never easy, even during the recession. As the economy improves, the time to talk landlords down is ticking.Over the past two years, a number of businesses have benefitted from the recession-induced real estate slump by capitalizing on falling rents. But for jewelers—especially those located in high-end retail spaces—those opportunities have failed to materialize. “Historically, we’ve opened three to five stores a year,” says Steve Davolt, vice president of marketing at Ben Bridge Jeweler Inc., which has been in business since 1912. “But opportunities weren’t there in 2009 and 2010.” The company did open one store in Santa Monica, Calif., in summer 2010 to take advantage of a newly renovated shopping and dining area in the heart of the beachside Los Angeles enclave. Now with the economy improving and the real estate market slowly recovering

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