Zell: Retail Problems Not the Same Around Globe #SALT2017

May 17 2017 | 6:22pm ET

Money manager Sam Zell said that “Retail Ice Age” facing the mall industry in the United States aren’t universal around the world. Zell made his comments Wednesday during a panel with Mark Mobius on emerging and frontier markets at the 2017 SALT Conference.

The two managers appeared on a panel titled “From My Point of View: Investing Around the World” on Wednesday.

“I don’t think it’s any great revelation that retail in the United States is changing. But you have to look at where we started from,” Zell said.

Zell noted that the United States started on “a factory of real estate” that is roughly two times larger than any retail footprint around the world. Zell said that not only was the U.S. “overstored” in recent decades, but there was also a problem of over-financing for new stores and locations across the country.

Zell then warned that it would be a mistake to think that the current state of U.S. retail mirrors events happening in the same industry around the globe. Zell said his firm owns a shopping center in Mexico where 80% of the store is serviced in cash. He said he doesn’t believe that any shopping center in the Unites States is close to 15% cash.

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