The steady climb of retail rents and encroachment of online retail hasn’t just hurt small businesses. It’s even making it harder for some chains to stay open. That’s one takeaway from the 10th annual “State of the Chains” report from the Center for an Urban Future.
On the Upper West Side, the total number of chains declined from 237 in 2016 to 232 in 2017. The 10023 zip code went from 89 to 85 chain locations; 10024 went from 67 to 62; but 10025 saw an increase, from 81 to 85. Panda Express, anyone?
Dunkin Donuts remains the chain king in NYC, but other chains, including shoe stores, have reduced their footprint, the report says. The fro-yo boom also may be over. It peaked in 2014 with 57 locations, but had fallen to 46 by last year. Ice cream chains like Baskin Robbins have also declined from 376 in 2008 to 311 last year.
“In a year in which the challenges facing brick-and-mortar retail have burst into view, this report finds that New York’s national chains are not immune to the pressure. Although food establishments continue to show strong growth, retailers that compete most directly with online outlets—such as shoe and electronics stores—have experienced significant contractions. Overall, a fifth of all national retailers in the city closed stores in the past year, and only one-in-seven retailers on our list increased their footprint—the smallest share since we began keeping track a decade ago.