Retail Sector to Add 1,000 New Stores in 2023

New York, NY, August 22, 2023-"Retailers are on track to open 1,000 net new stores in the U.S. this year as retail availability hits record lows, in fresh signs of the sector’s resilience despite turmoil in commercial real estate,” reports the Wall Street Journal.

“Landlords say demand for retail space has remained robust this year, defying inflation pressures, high interest rates and liquidations including Bed Bath & Beyond and Christmas Tree Shops. 

“Retail’s strength is largely the result of a sharp drop in retail construction since the 2008-09 financial crisis, which allowed the oversupplied sector to digest its existing real estate. Retailers, meanwhile, started using online sales data and analytics technology to pinpoint locations for successful stores.

“Also, predictions that internet sales would wipe out physical retail failed to materialize. Digitally native companies are opening bricks-and-mortar locations after reaching the limits of online customer acquisition. Shoppers flocked back to stores and restaurants as pandemic restrictions eased. 

“As of mid-August, retailers had announced plans to open nearly 4,500 new locations while shutting about 3,500, according to advisory and research firm Coresight Research. Nationwide, the rate of available retail space fell to 4.8% in the second quarter, the lowest level in the 18 years the data has been tracked by real-estate-services firm CBRE. 

“The retail real-estate recovery stands in contrast to the office market, where the popularity of hybrid work schedules has helped push up the office-vacancy rate to a 30-year high of 18.2%, according to CBRE. 

“‘Office is in the crosshairs,’ said Conor Flynn, chief executive of shopping-center owner and operator Kimco Realty. ‘But retail is outperforming.’

“Shopping-center owners, particularly in the suburbs, have benefited from the rise of remote work since the onset of Covid-19 in 2020, as consumers visit local grocery stores and other shops more often during the workweek. In response, some fast-casual restaurants and other retailers have shifted from urban business districts to the suburbs.”