The Real Deal Miami

U.S. is overretailed, authors say

June 15, 2009 02:52PM

Ellen Dunham-Jones, an architecture professor at Georgia Tech and author of the book “Retrofitting Suburbia,” said the the U.S. is “overretailed.” In her book, written with June Williamson, it says that in 1986, the U.S. had about 15 square feet of retail space per person in shopping centers. That was already a world-leading figure, but by 2003, that increased to 20 square feet per person. The fact that the country is overretailed might seem more obvious in a down economy as chains close up shop, but the spread of newer and bigger stores and malls caused retail vacancy in boom years as well. In Julia Christensen’s book “Big Box Reuse,” published last year, the author documented former Wal-Mart and Kmart locations that became vacant because the chains were expanding into larger locations nearby, leaving the smaller stores abandoned.