Is America In A Retail Apocalypse? Ask Yelp

by MR Magazine Staff

Things did not appear to go well for retail landlords in 2017. Big chains announced thousands of store closings and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection at a record rate, leading analysts to predict that hundreds of malls were on the verge of closing. The forecasts for the future proved even more grim than the present. But that’s not how mall owners see their own prospects. Mall managers tend to bemoan what they see as sensationalized coverage and doomish predictions designed to drive traffic to news websites—and rent reductions for their retail tenants. How bad is it really? Figuring that out isn’t as easy as you’d think. There were about 1,070,000 retail stores in the U.S. in 2015, according to census data that includes the types of stores you find in shopping malls as well as big box stores, gas stations, and other retailers. That’s up slightly from a recession-era low of 1,063,000 in 2011. The problem is that the data lags, so it leaves out any carnage from the last two years. Read more at Bloomberg.