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Talk about a shift in the numbers.

CNBC reports that announced store openings actually exceed announced store closures this year - a major turnabout from 2020.

According to the story, "U.S. retailers have announced 3,199 store openings and 2,548 closures year-to-date, according to a tracking by Coresight Research. For comparison, the firm recorded a whopping 8,953 closures, along with 3,298 openings last year, as the Covid pandemic upended the retail industry and pushed dozens of businesses into bankruptcy."  At the same time, "The National Retail Federation is forecasting retail sales in the U.S. could grow anywhere between 6.5% and 8.2% this year, with the economy accelerating at its fastest clip in two decades."

One of the things driving the openings:  "The real estate market … presents an opportunity in 2021 for companies looking to grow. They will likely pay less in rent and have more flexible lease terms. A glut of vacancies has left landlords more desperate to fill space and sign deals they wouldn’t have ever considered pre-pandemic."

Among the companies planning a bunch of openings:  Ulta Beauty, Sephora, Burlington Stores, and Dick;'s Sporting Goods.

And another:  Amazon, which is growing its physical footprint through its Amazon Fresh grocery store format, which is expected to have dozens of locations open by the end of the year.

KC's View:

One interesting thing about store openings is that their locations may be shifting - Bloomberg has a story about how many retailers that traditionally have opened stores in malls now are opting for off-mall, freestanding locations that seem to be generating better foot traffic than many malls these days.