WSJ – What Retail Recovery? Malls Under Pressure as Stores Close

Reis in the News

By Esther Fung
Source: The  Wall Street Journal – What Retail Recovery? Malls Under Pressure as Stores Close

Strong retail numbers last year from department stores Macy’s Inc. and Nordstrom Inc.raised hopes that the beleaguered mall industry would finally rebound.

But recent developments this year are pointing to more trouble ahead.

A number of struggling retailers are closing stores and being more selective about where to open ones, dimming prospects for many mall owners and investors.

U.S. retailers have already closed 5,994 stores so far this year, compared with 5,864 closures for all of last year, according to Coresight Research. The net store closings, or the number of closings minus openings this year, stands at 3,353.

Mall vacancy rates, meanwhile, inched up in the first quarter to 9.3% from 9% in the fourth quarter of 2018, according to real-estate research firm REIS Inc. This is the highest vacancy rate since the third quarter of 2011, when it reached 9.4%.

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