It's time for your lease renewal. Are you ready to negotiate? If you're like many retailers, your answer is "No." But a lack of preparation can be costly. Rent is typically a retailer's second-largest operating expense after labor. And the common industry practice of adjusting staff levels to reflect a changing business environment simply won't work with lease payments. You're pretty much stuck with them once you've signed on the bottom line. It's more important than ever to negotiate a better deal in today's real estate environment, characterized by its rising prices.