Too Much Retail Space in America - 12/10/15 | WYPR

Too Much Retail Space in America - 12/10/15

Dec 9, 2015

The actions of developers strongly suggests that there remains too much retail space in America.  According to real estate data firm CoStar Group, by the end of the current year, there will be about forty eight square feet of retail space per person in America.  That’s down from a record of nearly fifty square feet per person in two thousand and nine.  Two thousand and fifteen will represent the sixth consecutive annual drop and CoStar forecasts declines through at least twenty twenty. 

According to data from the International Council of Shopping Centers, the decline in per capita square footage has impacted most categories of retail real estate, including strip centers, convenience stores, and large malls.  As reported in the Wall Street Journal, the amount of retail square footage per person surged by fifty four percent between nineteen seventy and two thousand and nine.  According to CoStar, developers simply built too much. 

The most recent recession left many retailers vulnerable as shoppers pulled back.  Only one mall with at least a million square feet of leasable space has opened in American since two thousand and eight according to Green Street Advisors.  By contrast, over the ten year period ending in two thousand and five, fifty four such properties were developed.