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Stores are having a hard time of it these days. And landlords seem to be empathetic. According to the Times, they are lowering asking rents for retail tenants in "some of the trendiest areas" of the city (Soho and Mepa, probably). Also, we should definitely brace for more shutters in the next few months. "Industry experts say they also expect the pace of store closings to pick up in February and March, after retailers have tallied up the cost of exchanging unwanted holiday gifts for cash." [NYT]