Inventory and Vacancy Rate: The retail inventory in Southern New Hampshire included 29.8 million square feet in 2017. This represents a net decline of 59,400 square feet, or 0.2%, resulting largely from retail demolitions and conversions to non-retail space. During the same period, retailers absorbed large chunks of vacant space in the region, dramatically reducing the level of unoccupied space by more than 400,000 square feet in Southern New Hampshire and cutting the vacancy rate from 10.5% in 2016 to the current level of 9.1%. Some of the larger retailers to fill space include Chunky’s Cinema in Manchester, Hobby Lobby in Nashua, and Ocean State Job Lot in Seabrook. Also a number of retailers plan to open in vacant space later this year, including Cardi’s Furniture and NH1 Motorplex Indoor Karting, both joining Ocean State to absorb most of the vacant Walmart space and the empty Shaw’s location at Southgate Shopping Center.
Size Classifications: It was an encouraging year across the board regarding vacancy by size. Although the Under 2,500 SF category experienced a nominal increase in the vacancy rate to 16.0%, the vacant square footage was actually able to show a nominal decline. The total inventory in the under 2,500 SF category is modestly lower however. Still, this is a segment that has been trending the wrong way for several years now and the relative stability is a positive year-end result. Three categories lowered the vacancy rate by more than 2.0%, including the 5,000-9,999, 50,000-99,999, and 100,000-199,999 SF classifications. Absorption of vacant Shaw’s, Walmart, and Lowe’s boxes had much to do with the latter two ranges. The 2,500-4,999 SF segment of the region also showed a solid reduction in the vacancy rate of 180 basis points.
Regional Submarket Rankings: There has been no change in the top ten largest regional markets: Nashua continues to rank first with 6.3 million square feet of inventory; Manchester follows at 5.3 million square feet; and Salem is a distant third at 3.9 million square feet. Seabrook and Bedford follow with 2.0 million square feet and 1.5 million square feet, respectively.
Retailer Activity: Retailers adding the most space in the region include Mattress Firm, which converted its acquired Sleepy’s locations, thereby increasing by 59,700 square feet, followed by Chunky’s Cinema, Hobby Lobby, and Ocean State Job Lot. The latter three all back-filled big box vacancy, largely contributing to the substantial decline in the region’s vacancy rate. Conversely, Sleepy’s closed the most space. Radio Shack and Namco round out the top three of retailers contracting by square footage. Mattress Firm also led the region in new stores, adding 10 units via the Sleepy’s acquisition. Cricket Wireless and Sprint were the only other retailers gaining multiple stores, three and two units, respectively. The acquisition of Sleepy’s reduced this retailer’s store count by 10 locations. Radio Shack also vacated the region, closing its last seven stores. The overstoring of yogurt shops was apparent with the closing of six Orange Leaf locations.
Bob Sheehan, Vice President of Research
This KeyPoint Report examines changes in supply, vacancy and absorption, retailer activity, and market composition by store size and retail categories during the period from July 2016 to July 2017. The study area includes 39 cities and towns, representing more than 835 square miles and approximately 561,500 permanent residents (42% of the state population). KeyPoint Partners’ GRIID™ database maintains detailed information on virtually all retail properties in three key regions: Eastern Massachusetts, Southern New Hampshire and Greater Hartford, Connecticut. These markets encompass approximately 45% of all retail space in New England. GRIID™ has information on approximately 263 million square feet of retail space and approximately 59,600 retail establishments. The KeyPoint Reports contain a summary and analysis of retail market trends and activity for each studied market area.
The Report is coming!
The KeyPoint Report on Eastern MA/Greater Boston 2017 is available now.
The KeyPoint Report on Southern New Hamsphire 2017 and the KeyPoint Report on Greater Hartford, CT 2017 will follow soon.
Visit KeyPointPartners.com and click on Retail Reports at the top.