retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The Wall Street Journal reports this morning about a new study from real-estate data firm Reis Inc., saying that “the vacancy rate in big U.S. malls increased to 8.4% in the first quarter of 2018, up from 8.3% in the fourth quarter and the highest since the fourth quarter of 2012 … Meanwhile, neighborhood and community shopping centers in 41 of the 77 areas experienced an increase in vacancy during the 12 months ending on March 31.”

The numbers, the story says, “show that bricks-and-mortar malls and shopping centers continue to be hurt by shifting consumer spending patterns, particularly the increasing use of online retail. Numerous department stores and other retailers that traditionally have been mainstays of shopping areas have been contracting or have failed … The weakness in the retail real-estate sector comes at a time of overall growth in the U.S. economy. Store and shopping center closings have been particularly painful to small cities that have been reliant on the sector for jobs and taxes.”
KC's View: