Retail Dive – Mall vacancies and rents stabilize in Q4

Reis in the News

By Daphne Howland
Source: Retail Dive – Mall vacancies and rents stabilize in Q4

American malls are demonstrating some stability after devastating levels of store closures from the likes of J.C. Penney, Sears and Toys R Us, thanks in part to slowing new development.

The cataclysmic level of store closures in recent years from those major players and others had analysts and landlords bracing for plunging rents and soaring vacancies, but “the doomsday prognostications proved to be overblown,” Reis Senior Economist Barbara Byrne Denham said in her report. “That said, a number of stores are still expected to close in the coming months and the industry continues to face a number of headwinds including gains in online shopping.”

New development has slowed to a crawl as some shopping centers have been demolished, she noted. Many former big box retail stores at some shopping centers are no longer used for retail, moving to serve as self storage facilities or other uses, including fitness companies, trampoline parks, and grocery stores, according to Reis data. Structural changes like that continue, as do improvements to stores that are keeping shoppers going to physical locations. But, while retailers that fail to update their stores and merchandise to meet consumers’ elevated expectations are probably doomed, the survivors are more numerous than many expected, according to Denham.

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