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Online marketplace dominates holiday retail growth, but impacts DC less than other major markets

  • ​Despite projected revenue growth of 3.8% nationally for brick & mortar retailers this holiday season, traditional retailers continue to lose market share to their online counterparts. U.S. online holiday sales could see growth of nearly 19% this season with some projections of online sales surpassing the $100 billion mark for the first time.
  • As online sales continue to grow, U.S. seasonal employment for the holidays has fallen by an average of 10% the last four years. Seasonal holiday retail employment is expected to decline by 70,000 jobs nationally this year. Once a boost for local retail markets such as Georgetown, Tysons and Chevy Chase, employment and occupancy growth over the holidays has shifted to the distribution sector; in the past 18 months, 3.2 million s.f. of industrial space has been taken down by distributors in the Mid-Atlantic, all of which will see high holiday traffic flow.
  • Washington DC’s retail scene continues to push forward regardless of online growth. 79% of downtown retail is comprised of restaurants, fitness, and other personal services which can not be replaced virtually. Fundamentals for apparel stores may have softened nationally, but the impact locally hurts less than apparel-centric markets such as Chicago, Los Angeles and New York as apparel accounts for only 9% of DC’s storefronts.​

Source: JLL Research, The National Federation of Retail, comScore​

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