US high streets looking low for retail in 2017

Stagnating rents and increasing vacancy rates are spurring concern on the nation’s most trafficked retail strips, which are also seeing new competitors

From the retail issue: Ralph Lauren is packing up its Polo store on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue. In San Francisco’s Union Square, Saks Fifth Avenue is consolidating and Macy’s will shutter its men’s store after selling the building to Morgan Stanley for $250 million. Macy’s is also looking to unload its Miami Beach flagship store on Lincoln Road as part of its plan to close 100 stores.

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Across the country, the most trafficked high streets in the U.S. are feeling the pinch. The growth of e-commerce has traditional retailers rethinking their brick-and-mortar strategies, leading to an uptick in vacancy rates on the most expensive retail strips as record rent growth along many high streets recedes.