Breaking News — NYC Retail
As we move into 2018, the challenges faced by brick and mortar retail continue to garner interest. Armchair pundits loudly proclaim New York City retail is in especially deep decline. But the facts don't support this conclusion, as evidenced by the recently published tenth annual New York City State of the Chains, 2017 ranking. This thorough and carefully researched report by The Center for an Urban Future (CUF) presents a more balanced view of NYC retail.
Here are some of their conclusions:
Growth Spearheaded by Food
The number of chain store locations across the city increased for the ninth year in a row, but fewer chains expanded in 2017 than in the past.
Growth was spearheaded by restaurants and food-related retailers. Overall, food-related chains are responsible for 41% of the growth in national retailer locations in NYC over the past decade, exceeding all other retail categories.
34 new retailers were added to the NYC ranking in 2017. Among them were Adidas, Aldi, Advance Auto Parts, Argo Tea Coffee, Dig Inn, Bonobos, Fresh & Co., Paris Baguette, Warby Parker, Baked by Melissa and Bareburger, bringing CUF's list of national retailers to 349, with 7,873 locations city-wide.
Dunkin' Donuts & MetroPCS in the Lead
For the ninth consecutive year, Dunkin' Donuts topped the list as the largest national retailer in New York City, with a total of 612 stores. A new retailer took over the number two position in 2017. MetroPCS, the cellular phone services provider, added 119 locations in 2017 to edge out Subway, with 445 stores across the city to Subway's 433. MetroPCS is now the top cellular phone services retailer in each of the five boroughs. Spurred by the growth of MetroPCS, mobile phone retailers finally overtook NYC apparel retailers in 2017.
Rounding out the list of the top 10 national retailers in NYC are Subway, Starbucks, Duane Reade/Walgreens, T-Mobile, Baskin Robbins, McDonald's, Rite Aid and CVS.
The following national retailers experienced significant growth in NYC last year: Dunkin' Donuts, MetroPCS, T-Mobile, Crumbs Bake Shop, Children's Place and Pret a Manger; and the following national retailers downsized significantly in 2017: Duane Reade/Walgreens, Radio Shack, Payless and Hale and Hearty Soups.
2017 Chain Store Activity Was Stable
The vast majority of national retailers in NYC, 66%, maintained the same number of locations as last year, in contrast to the year before when just 33% remained flat. Only one in seven increased its footprint, vs one in five the year before. About 20% of the chains closed locations in 2017, including retailers American Apparel and Second Time Around.
Thus, all things considered, NYC chain store activity in 2017 was characterized by stability, not wholesale contraction. Of course, we'd all prefer expansion to be the name of the game, but let's see what 2018 brings.