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Expanding Chains in 2021

January 14, 2021


Part 4 of an SCT series lending insight into the year ahead.


To witness the popularity of discount retail, stop by just about any grand opening for T.J. Maxx. “There will be a line on the road and around the corner, there are so many people waiting to get into that store,” said Ryan Mitzel, director of national accounts for the East for Phillips Edison & Co., an internally managed REIT that owns and/or manages 309 grocery-anchored centers.


Phillips Edison & Co.’s Ryan Mitzel

In the year ahead, Mitzel and his colleagues will closely watch T.J.Maxx and other larger-format operators in the discount category, including HomeGoods, Marshalls (July opening at Shorewood Crossing in Illinois pictured above), Burlington and Ross Dress for Less. “We really like those box users,” he said. “People crave that treasure hunt concept where you never know what you’re going to get when you walk into the store. It generates repeat customers.”

The expansions of midsize discount operators like Five Below, Dollar Tree, Dollar General and Dollar General’s Popshelf concept, announced in October, also will be important for landlords seeking to backfill, Mitzel says. “Popshelf is looking for space around 9,000 square feet, and they see the value in backfilling a Pier 1 space or a former Rite Aid building on an outparcel,” he noted. “If the landlord gets that size space back, there are only a select few retailers they can call on nationally.”

Popshelf offers seasonal and home decor, health and beauty items, home cleaning supplies, party goods and more, most items priced at $5 or less

According to Dollar General, Popshelf’s target customer is a suburban woman in a household that has a total annual income of $50,000 to $125,000. While Popshelf is a potential competitor with Five Below on price, it focuses on a different part of the market. “Five Below is more geared toward kids,” Mitzel said. “We’re excited to see where Popshelf goes.”

Mitzel and his colleagues also have been talking with other fast-expanding chains, including AutoZone, Starbucks, Jersey Mike’s Subs, Wingstop, Chipotle, Tropical Smoothie Cafe and Scooter’s Coffee. Medical tenants and home improvement retailers like American Family Care, ATI Physical Therapy, Sherwin-Williams and Ace Hardware also will continue to be a major focus.

As vaccinations continue nationwide, owners and managers of grocery-anchored shopping centers likely will see increased demand for space among lower-priced fitness centers, as well, Mitzel predicts. Examples include Planet Fitness, Crunch Fitness and Anytime Fitness. “They see the value of offering membership at $20 a month rather than, say, $100 or more.”

By Joel Groover Contributor, Shopping Centers Today


U.S. retail sales: Which categories improved in December and which ones fell ...

January 19, 2021

U.S. retail sales minus motor vehicles, auto parts and gas grew 7.5 percent year over year in December on a seasonally adjusted basis, according to an advance estimate from the U.S. Census Bureau. The December growth is the lowest since May, when sales rose 3.2 percent year over year. For the entire year of 2020, sales grew 6.4 percent year over year despite the pandemic, due in large part to building materials and garden supply stores; food and beverage stores; sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores; and nonstore retailers. All those categories saw multiple months of double-digit growth in 2020.

Sales at restaurants and drinking establishments, which the Census Bureau classifies under a separate category from retail sales, declined 21.2 percent year over year in December, capping off a year that saw 10 consecutive months of negative year-over-year growth.



December year-over-year sales grew …

… by more than November’s

  • Furniture and home stores

  • Health and personal care stores

  • Miscellaneous stores, which includes florists; office supply, stationery and gift stores; and used merchandise stores

… by less than November’s

  • Building materials and garden supply stores

  • Food-and-beverage stores

  • General merchandise stores

  • Sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores

  • Nonstore sales, including online sales, by both physical retailers and mail-order companies

December year-over-year sales contracted …

… by more than November’s

  • Clothing stores

  • Electronics stores

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