As the national conversation continues to focus on the concerns of the economy both local and global, subtle yet positive signs keep popping up here and there that buoy our spirits. One of those signs is the continued growth of shopping centers. Shopping centers are defined as establishments that are architecturally unified and provide on-site parking. They are planned, developed, owned and managed as an operating unit comprised of three or more stores. They range in size from small convenience centers to community strip malls to large super-regional malls.
At the end of 3Q-2011, there were approximately 109,500 shopping centers in the U.S. providing more than 7.9 million square feet of leasable retail space collectively. While recent growth has been slower, the number of units and square footage has grown by more than 20% since the year 2000. The following graphs depict shopping center growth over the past 25 years:
According to Chainlinks Retail Advisors U.S. National Retail Report, there is more good news as vacancy rates fell in 3Q-2011 from 11.0% to 10.9%. Fast casual dining concepts continue to be the biggest driver for leasing activity as well as one of the hottest franchise growth opportunities.
Shopping centers are often excellent sites to establish a new franchise location as other retail outlets and service providers help draw a steady flow of potential customers, creating a symbiotic environment for all the businesses situated together. The International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) reports that U.S. shopping-center retail sales total more than $2.26 trillion, accounting for over half of all retail sales.
If you are considering expanding into new markets and are interested in a piece of that pie, give us a call at 1-888-848-4436 or schedule a demo at your convenience to discover how the GeoMetrx online application can provide you with all the information you need to evaluate the shopping center options in your market.