Thursday, August 18, 2016

Preview : So. NH 10-Year Retail Category Special Section

In earlier Special Sections we’ve explored long-term changes in the Grocery and Restaurant categories. This year we’ve analyzed 10 years of data on occupancy changes in all retail tenant categories in Southern New Hampshire, and as we saw in Eastern Massachusetts, the social values, shopping habits, and lifestyle choices of shoppers in this region have clearly influenced the retail real estate landscape.

The 2011 entry of Ulta Beauty into the region lifted Beauty Supplies and Cosmetics to the top of the square footage growth chart during the past decade, with space in that category increasing by a whopping 177%.

Another category showing phenomenal growth was Variety Stores, which grew by 133%; Dollar General and Dollar Tree both entered the region, driving this merchandise segment into second place. And even with the recent demise of Sports Authority, Sporting Goods managed to add 50% to its space inventory. This was attributable to the opening of  three new Dick’s stores, and the fact that Sports Authority opened and closed two of its four units during this time frame.

The liquidation of several chains, including Circuit City, Tweeter, and Cambridge Sound Works, as well as some Radio Shack closings, had a hand in reducing Electronics Stores space by 50%, the most of any category. Furniture Stores also experienced a significant decline, currently occupying 31% less space now than in 2006. Office Supplies was marginally better, with category space reducing by 29%. Although Staples store count remained stable in the region, square footage was reduced by more than 50,000 square feet as the company opted for smaller stores.

Beauty Supplies and Cosmetics not only led the pack in percentage gain by total space, but also in store count with a gain of 78%. Medical and Dental Services came in second with a gain of 30%, as non-retail users become a more viable option when canvassing for shopping center replacement tenants. Drinking Places increased by 29% during the past decade.

At the opposite end of the chart, Electronics Stores experienced the largest setback with a reduced store count of 54%. Gift Shops and Florists were far behind, experiencing store count declines of 34% and 33%, respectively. These categories, which are comprised largely of independent, mom-and-pop operators, have struggled to remain in business during the past decade.

The chart below tracks percentage changes in expansion and contraction by major retail tenant categories from 2006 through 2016 by square footage.

Bob Sheehan, Vice President of Research

The 2016 KeyPoint Report for Southern New Hampshire will be available very soon.

The 2016 KeyPoint Report for Eastern Massachusetts/Greater Boston is available now at (click on Research Reports).

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