To say 2020 has been a tough year for retailers would be an understatement.
In June, it was projected that 25,000 would shutter this year. Some had been hit hard by the retail apocalypse, while others were decimated solely by the coronavirus.
But amid the ashes, many retailers have announced expansions or are going full speed ahead with previous plans, according to a report by Stan Johnson Co.
“You’re surprised to see people are expanding. Then, when you peel the onion back, it starts to make a little more sense as to what their long-term strategy is,” said Ryan Butler, managing director and partner at Stan Johnson.
Butler noted that for some users of retail space, revenues are up.
“They’re taking advantage of lower lease rates, vacancies, cheaper land values, so that they can continue their expansion, and in some cases, probably accelerate what might have been a two-year plan,” Butler added.
Here are the retailers planning the 10 biggest expansions, ranked by the number of locations being added.
The convenience store giant will add more than 3,900 locations after acquiring Speedway, bringing 7-Eleven’s store count to 14,000.
That is part of a long-range plan to double in size, noted the CEO of Marathon Petroleum, Speedway’s current owner.
“We plan to work hand-in-hand with 7-Eleven as they grow out their portfolio,” Michael Hennigan said during this year’s second-quarter earnings call. “They have a stated goal to expand to about 20,000 stores.”
2. Dollar General
The low-cost merchandise chain already has 17,000 stores and plans to add 1,000 in its current fiscal year, which ends Jan. 31. Some will feature a new store concept aimed at higher-income shoppers.
The plans are on track. In the first half of this year, Dollar General opened 500 stores and remodeled 973.
Dollar stores have seen a surge of customers during the pandemic as consumers look to save money. Dollar General saw net income rise to $574 million in the third quarter, up from $366 million a year earlier.
3. Sonic Drive-In
Sonic’s car-centric model has paid off during the pandemic, with even more Americans than usual opting to eat in their cars and homes.
The drive-in chain, which already has over 3,000 locations across 46 states, aims to open 1,000 more in the next 10 years.
After paring back plans to open 600 stores this year, the coffee giant has still seen a net growth of 288 in the past 12 months.
Some 850 new stores are planned next year across the Americas. However, that will be offset by roughly 800 store closures during the year, for a net growth of only 50 locations.
Still, the closed stores are to be replaced with new convenience store models, according to Starbucks’ fourth-quarter earnings call.
Internationally, the retailer expects to open approximately 1,300 stores in its fiscal year 2021 and close approximately 250.
5. Dollar Tree/Family Dollar
Similar to Dollar General, Dollar Tree and Family Dollar plan massive expansions in the coming year.
In the first half of 2020, Dollar Tree opened 167 stores and Family Dollar opened 63. The second half of the fiscal year calls for 500 new stores — 325 Dollar Tree and 175 Family Dollar locations.
6. Bank of America
Banks have remained one of the most reliable tenants, paying their rent 98 percent of the time, according to Datex Property Solutions’ November rent report.
Bank of America is on track with its plan announced in 2018 to open 500 branches through 2022. It now operates over 4,300.
Grocery stores have fared similarly well, being determined essential while many restaurants were restricted or closed. Aldi in particular has seen greater success as it offers groceries at low cost.
The chain, with more than 2,000 locations across 37 states, plans to reach 2,500 by 2022. On its website, Aldi lists over 80 stores coming soon.
8. At Home
As people spend more time in their abodes and acquire bigger homes to fill, home furnishings have been hot.
Building materials and garden equipment suppliers saw sales grow 19.5 percent year-over-year in October, according to Census data.
At Home, which only has 219 stores, plans to open nearly 400 more.
9. Chase Bank
Like, Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase also has big expansion plans.
The bank has nearly 5,000 locations across 38 states and Washington, D.C. By 2023, Chase plans to open 400 more branches and receive approval to expand into 10 additional states.
10. Casey’s General Store
Primarily located in the Midwest, Casey’s General Store announced plans to add 350 stores by 2023, beginning in October 2020.
In the second quarter the convenience store closed two locations and opened nine.