The trend: There are fewer retail vacancies than any time in the past 10 years, per a CBRE study reported by Chain Store Age.
The context: Consumers have shifted more of their spending offline, as brick-and-mortar retail sales growth has outpaced that of ecommerce for four straight quarters.
Times have changed: Remote work has given people fewer reasons to leave their neighborhoods, which has driven retailers to test new formats such as smaller stores or mobile-first experiences that help them accommodate the various ways shoppers prefer to engage with retailers.
The big takeaway: An extremely unusual set of circumstances spurred by the pandemic has created the current tight commercial real estate environment. The situation is unlikely to continue as inflationary pressures and costs cause challenges for nearly every retailer, including giants such as Walmart and Target. As the landscape grows even more difficult, some struggling retailers will shutter their stores (and may even file for bankruptcy).
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