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Vacancy rate higher for NW warehouses

The availability of commercial real estate in Benton and Washington counties was on the rise in the first half of the year, with the overall vacancy rate standing at 10.8 percent, up from 9.7 percent from the last six months of 2017, according to the Arvest Bank Commercial Skyline Report released Tuesday.

"While the vacancy rate increased, it remains at healthy levels and the market seems to be adjusting to the new retail landscape," Mervin Jebaraj, director of the Center for Business and Economic Research at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, said in a statement.

The vacancy rate for warehouse space increased to 8.1 percent for the first six months of 2018 compared with 5.8 percent for the last half of 2017, which was the biggest change in the sector. Jebaraj said that because of its small size the warehouse segment can be volatile.

The office sector held steady at 9.1 percent vacancy rate, with particular strength in Class A and B office space, despite the addition of new space. The retail sector vacancy rates increased less then 1 percent with a rate of 9.7 for the first half of 2018 compared with 8.9 percent for the six months prior.

-- John Magsam

Walmart unit's buyer touts plan for Brazil

The firm that acquired 80 percent of Walmart Inc.'s Brazilian operations is investing $485 million to convert unprofitable hypermarkets into cash-and-carry wholesale stores, according to a document in Brazil's national journal, Diario Oficial.

Private equity fund Advent International agreed to the investment as part of the deal that closed Aug. 12. Walmart retained a 20 percent stake in the business. The Bentonville-based retailer has been shifting its focus from underperforming international markets to those with more growth potential, such as China and India.

Walmart did not disclose the value of the deal when it was announced in June, but said in a news release it would report a noncash charge of about $4.5 billion as a discrete item in the second quarter.

Walmart Brazil operates nearly 500 stores under different banners and formats.

-- Serenah McKay

State index slides 1.17; Uniti up 2.7%

The Arkansas Index, a price-weighted index that tracks the largest public companies based in the state, fell 1.17 to 460.57 Tuesday.

Uniti Group closed at 21.29, up 2.7 percent.

"Stocks closed mixed to slightly higher, as major indexes bounced off their all-time highs on news that Canada joined in on trade talks after the United States and Mexico agreed to overhaul [the North American Free Trade Agreement]," said Chris Harkins, managing director with Raymond James & Associates in Little Rock.

The index was developed by Bloomberg News and the Democrat-Gazette with a base value of 100 as of Dec. 30, 1997.

Business on 08/29/2018

Print Headline: Vacancy rate higher for NW warehouses Walmart unit's buyer touts plan for Brazil State index slides 1.17; Uniti up 2.7%

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