Research

United States Retail Outlook Q4 2020

2021 brings hope of a retail turnaround

March 24, 2021

Retail real estate’s fourth-quarter performance signaled a modest upturn in conditions as consumers prepped for the holidays and vaccine breakthroughs pointed to a 2021 recovery. 

  • The $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package approved by congress will help keep struggling US households stay afloat and boost spending.
  • Major markets in the Sun Belt – including Tampa, Atlanta, and Dallas - show strong year-over-year rent growth. Warmer weather and more mobile consumers are boosting retail traffic and performance.
  • Net absorption during the fourth quarter totaled 3.0 million square feet – the first positive absorption seen since the end of 2019. Freestanding retail and strip centers lifted performance.
  • Some mall retailers like Sephora and Gap are betting on off-mall locations for future growth.
  • Vacant mall space is being repurposed into distribution centers, schools and other new uses.
  • Retailers selling home-related goods for home improvement projects continue to see high demand and strong growth in comp sales.
  • Vacancy for smaller shopping centers remains lower than it did during the Great Recession.

To learn how other major retail sectors performed, download the full report.

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