Research

United States Retail Outlook Q3 2021

Retail recovery solidifies with demand returning to 2017 levels

December 12, 2021

The retail recovery is in full swing with broad-based improvement across retail property types. Robust economic fundamentals help push retail performance even higher as we approach the end of 2021.

  • Retail sales have tracked upward for the past three months, and foot traffic at shopping centers is hovering around 25% above 2020 levels.
  • Pent-up demand and more free cash pushed average transaction value per shopper up 18% more than in 2019.
  • Online sales did not increase year-over-year for Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday and Cyber Monday for the first time.
  • Roughly 41,000 leases have been signed in the first half of 2021, representing 121 million square feet. Net absorption—or actual move-ins during the third quarter— surged 80.4% to 32.2 million square feet.
  • This year, retailers will open more stores than they close for the first time since 2017. After a net loss of 6,573 stores last year, 900 U.S. retail chains will contribute to net-positive 4,361 new stores this year.
  • Mall net absorption, which had been negative for six straight quarters, was positive in the third quarter at 0.7 million square feet. 
  • Smaller shopping centers saw a 70.3% surge in net absorption during the third quarter to 14.7 million square feet.

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