After disastrous 2020, retail chains stage modest NYC comeback

Reopenings drove 3% increase in number of locations this year, still 10% below pre-pandemic presence

New York /
Dec.December 22, 2021 10:26 AM
Clockwise: Shake Shack, Pret A Manger and Le Pain Quotidien (Getty) 

Clockwise: Shake Shack, Pret A Manger and Le Pain Quotidien (Getty)

The number of chain stores and restaurants in New York City increased this year in a welcome sign for retail landlords after four straight years of declines.

The bar was set pretty low. The 2.7 percent year-over-year increase pales in comparison to last year’s 12.8 percent decline, according to a report by the Center for an Urban Future.

Chains added 190 locations across the five boroughs as the pace of commercial activity picked up following 2020, the most challenging year on record, when one in every seven chain stores was forced to close. Chain stores were on a downward trajectory even before the pandemic, with the city seeing a 3.7 percent decline in locations in 2019 and a 0.3 percent dip in 2018.

But in addition to the 190 new store and restaurant openings, more than a quarter (260) of the 1,021 locations that shuttered in 2020 reopened this year.

Several chains now exceed their pre-pandemic store count, including Pret A Manger, Shake Shack, Insomnia Cookies, Papa Johns and Kiehl’s. Those with the most openings included streetwear brand Jimmy Jazz (with 31 new stores), Taco Bell (28), Pret A Manger (23), Le Pain Quotidien (23), Pizza Hut (22), Subway (21), Enterprise (20), Soul Cycle (19) and Popeye’s (18).

Additionally, fewer national retailers shut down altogether this past year, with just eight chains exiting the city entirely, compared to 27 last year. Among them were Century21 — which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and shuttered all of its stores last year, including its five New York City locations — Kenneth Cole, French Connection and Fossil.

Though the number of chain store locations increased from 6,970 at the end of 2020 to 7,160 this year, that figure is still 10 percent below the 7,948 chain stores in 2019 and 12 percent below the 8,136 chain stores in 2018.

Staten Island saw the fastest rate of increase this year, with its chain store footprint jumping by 4.5 percent, or 19 stores. Brooklyn added 43 stores, Queens added 31 and the Bronx added 11. After accounting for more than half of all closures in 2020, Manhattan represented 45 percent of the growth in 2021. None of the boroughs, however, were able to return to 2019 levels.





    Related Articles

    arrow_forward_ios
    Clockwise from top left: 312 West 34th Street, 61 North 9th Street, 639 Classon Avenue, and One Fulton Square (Credit: Google Maps)
    These were the top 10 NYC retail leases in July
    These were the top 10 NYC retail leases in July
    Ricky's at 830 Broadway (Credit: NYC Go)
    Ricky’s, iconic NYC beauty shop, faces
    more closures
    Ricky’s, iconic NYC beauty shop, faces
    more closures
    From top, clockwise: Cushman & Wakefield's Joanne Podell, Showfields' Amir Zwickel, Appear Here's Josh Yentob, Brookfield Properties's Mark Kostic (Credit: Getty, LinkedIn)
    When it comes to retail, “real estate in New York is fundamentally broken”
    When it comes to retail, “real estate in New York is fundamentally broken”
    Southampton Town supervisor Jay Schneiderman (jayschneiderman.com, Google Maps)
    Southampton Town considers buying 40 acres
    Southampton Town considers buying 40 acres
    Alan Feldman, chief executive officer, president & chairman of the board, Resource REIT; Stephen Schwarzman, chairman, ceo & co-founder, Blackstone (Resource REIT, Getty Images, 1000 Spalding Apartment Homes)
    Blackstone to pay $3.7B for REIT in latest rental push
    Blackstone to pay $3.7B for REIT in latest rental push
    360 Kingsland Avenue in Greenpoint, Brooklyn (Google)
    Sitex Group pays $30M for Greenpoint industrial property
    Sitex Group pays $30M for Greenpoint industrial property
    (Getty)
    Intel investment in new Ohio chip plant could reach $100B
    Intel investment in new Ohio chip plant could reach $100B
    In the days after Hong Kong circulated its latest virus measures this month, several shops, bars and eateries said they would close (Geology.com, iStock)
    Hong Kong businesses struggle with fallout of city’s zero-Covid policy, supply chain woes
    Hong Kong businesses struggle with fallout of city’s zero-Covid policy, supply chain woes
    arrow_forward_ios

    The Deal's newsletters give you the latest scoops, fresh headlines, marketing data, and things to know within the industry.

    Loading...