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
    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”
    L-R: Savanna's Chris Schlank, Eastdil Secured's Will Silverman, JLL's Bob Knakal (Photos by Paul Dilakian)
    Office royalty talk conversions, distress and the “downsize upgrade” trend
    Office royalty talk conversions, distress and the “downsize upgrade” trend
    Columbia Property Trust's Nelson Mills and 799 Broadway (Columbia Property Trust, 799 Broadway, iStock)
    Columbia Property Trust signs investment firm to 71K sf at 799 Broadway
    Columbia Property Trust signs investment firm to 71K sf at 799 Broadway
    East End Capital's Jonathon Yormak and 141 East Houston Street (141 East Houston Street, East End Capital)
    Boutique LES office scores blockchain firm as anchor tenant
    Boutique LES office scores blockchain firm as anchor tenant
    Vice Media CEO Nancy Dubuc and 225 Broadway (Getty Images, Google Maps, iStock)
    Refinery29 subleasing at 225 Broadway for move in with Vice
    Refinery29 subleasing at 225 Broadway for move in with Vice
    Naftali Group's Miki Naftali, BRP Companies' Meredith Marshall (Photos by Paul Dilakian)
    Miki Naftali, Meredith Marshall talk development, death of 421a
    Miki Naftali, Meredith Marshall talk development, death of 421a
    R-L: Willow's Kevin Danehy, Era Ventures' Clelia Warburg Peters, Fifth Wall's Brad Greiwe and The Real Deal's Hiten Samtani (Photo by Paul Dilakian)
    Real estate tech is coming for your business
    Real estate tech is coming for your business
    arrow_forward_ios

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

    Loading...