Retail chains show strength with growth in the city
There are more Starbucks in the city than there were a year ago — despite a handful of highly publicized closings last year — while other chain retailers, Circuit City among them, have been wiped off the map.
Center for an Urban Future released its second annual report yesterday on the state of chain stores in the city. Despite the recession — or perhaps because of it — a number of national retailers expanded, the report found.
“There’s been such a discussion of whether there are too many chain stores or too many mom-and-pops being forced out, and I think it’s a mixed picture,” said Jonathan Bowles, executive director of the think-tank. This year the report breaks down the number of chains by ZIP code.
“There are more neighborhoods under-retailed in the city than are saturated with retail chains,” Bowles said.
A surprise for Bowles was that of 167 retailers surveyed last year 53 expanded, 52 stayed level and 62 have fewer stores. The findings show that some big brands got bullish during the downturn.
Starbucks lopped off about a dozen stores in the city last year, but still managed to grow from 235 locations to 258.
Lower rents are enticing the healthier companies to expand, said Judah Sutton, president of JUD Leasing Corp.
He just negotiated a lease for Lot Less Closeouts, which took over the former Strand Bookstore location at 95 Fulton St.
“A lot of national retailers already in New York that are doing well or holding their own are aggressively looking to expand,” Sutton said.
“If they find the right location at the right price, they’re willing to pull the trigger.”