It’s not just small businesses and mom-and-pops that are hurting in 2020: Chain stores are also shuttering at a rapid rate across New York City.
More than 1,000 chain stores across New York City — nearly one out of every seven that were open this time last year — have closed their doors over the past 12 months, according to a new report by the Center for an Urban Future, a think tank focused on economic growth in the five boroughs.
That marks the largest number of chain closures tracked by the think tank in 13 years of putting together the report. In comparison, there was just a 3.7 percent decline in chain stores across the city from 2018 to 2019.
According to CUF’s data, there were 7,948 chain stores across the five boroughs in 2019. Now, there are 6,891, a 13.3 percent decrease. The biggest losses were in Manhattan, which accounted for 520 out of 1,057 closures, or 49 percent of the citywide total. The larger figure includes 160 stores that have temporarily closed because of pandemic-driven restrictions.
Fitness chains like New York Sports Club and SoulCycle shut down locations after Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s executive order in March that required gyms to close. A large number of fast-casual sandwich and soup chains — including Subway, Pret a Manger and Hale & Hearty — also shuttered locations, perhaps because few workers have returned to offices.
Even major chains couldn’t avoid the closures. Dunkin’, which has more stores than any other retailer in the city, with 610 locations, lost 18 stores. Metro PCS, the second largest retailer, shuttered 134 stores over the past year.
Other stores that recorded losses include Duane Reade, which closed 70 stores; GNC, which shuttered 51 locations; Modell’s, which closed 43 stores after filing for bankruptcy earlier this year; and Baskin-Robbins, which shuttered 30 locations.
Only 40 retailers added store locations. Popeyes and T-Mobile grew the most, adding 11 stores each.
While the pandemic accelerated closures in 2020, CUF’s data suggests that the growth of chain stores throughout the city has flatlined in the past few years — in 2018, there was a 0.3 percent decline, and in 2019, a 3.7 percent decline.
To create the report, the think tank tallied the number of national retailer store locations throughout the city and recorded trends by retailer, borough and ZIP code.