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MESA, Ariz. Vacant storefronts in metro Phoenix's eastern suburbs are filling up.

The East Valley Tribune reports that real estate brokerage CBRE says about 549,000 square feet of retail space was absorbed across those suburbs in the first half of 2012.

That's about 43 percent of the roughly 1.2 million square feet that was newly leased across metro Phoenix so far this year.

The Mesa-Chandler-Gilbert submarket saw the biggest jump in new stores, with 483,000 square feet absorbed this year.

That area's 14.1 percent vacancy rate was among the highest in the metro area.

The Tempe-Ahwatukee submarket gained 65,000 square feet of new retail this year. That brings its vacancy rate down to 8.1 percent.

Metro Phoenix's vacancy rate now stands at 11.3 percent, down from 12.6 percent a year ago.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

Associated Press,

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