The COVID-19 Pandemic and the Retail Debacle

Analysis by Dr. Victor Calanog & Dr. Thomas LaSalvia

Retail properties face an extremely grim second quarter for 2020 due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and store closures. The U.S. economy is projected to shrink at an unprecedented rate in the second quarter, and the prospects for a quick recovery are uncertain. There are some provisions from the CARES Act that support rent payments for small businesses, but it will be a challenge to ensure that significant disbursements come in time before April rent payments come due. All of the pressures that prompted retail to evolve, from online commerce to demographic change, will likely increase in the post-COVID-19 world.

Download this analysis for insight into the challenges that the retail property type will face in the near term, and speculate on its future, post-coronavirus.


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Victor Calanog, PhD CRE® is the Head of CRE Economics at Moody’s Analytics REIS. He and his team of economists and analysts are responsible for the firm’s market forecasting, valuation, and real estate portfolio analytics services. He holds a PhD in Applied Economics and Management Science, trained by a dissertation committee composed of faculty from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard Business School.

Thomas LaSalvia, PhD is a Professor of Economics at the College of William and Mary.


Looking for additional insights? Explore our interactive COVID-19 map to analyze the potential impact on commercial real estate markets.


You may also find our website dedicated to COVID-19 to be helpful during this time. Visit for our latest research and views on the credit and economic impact of COVID-19. This site brings together insights from across Moody’s to help you better understand the financial implications of the outbreak.