More Signs of the Economy: Vacant Retail

Vacant retail is forcing landlords to give up on long leases and get what revenue they can from “pop-up” stores.

Vacant retail is not good news for the economy.

During the latter part of Obama’s second term, the media did everything possible to convince the country that the economy was recovering. Voters in many states were not convinced. The popularity of Bernie Sanders and the victory of Donald Trump, with his dark message of our economic circumstances, showed that many did not believe the media. After Trump won, the media promoted the alleged “Obama recovery” even more—no doubt to get ready to blame Trump when the economic problems became undeniable.

That moment is getting closer. A story in the New York Times shows another sign of economic weakness: “Pop Up Goes the Retail Scene as Store Vacancies Rise.

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As traditional retail stores close and vacancies mount, landlords across the country appear newly receptive to leases as short as a week, eschewing the typical 10-year time frame, even in locations that once shunned limited stays.

The upswing in pop-up stores, as the short-term placements are called, is playing out in all sorts of ways, and in all sorts of places — including dark malls, former grocery stores and shuttered art galleries, according to real estate brokers, landlords and tenants.

For retailers, the stores can offer lower rents and far less commitment. For the landlords, the reason is just as clear: A short-term tenant is better than no tenant at all.

“Landlords have their backs against the wall right now,” said Samantha Elias, the co-founder of the Vintage Twin, a secondhand clothing company whose stores frequently pop up in Manhattan. “I tell them that some money is better than no money, and I promise not to bother you.

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The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by EagleRising.com


About the author

Joe Scudder

Joe Scudder

Joe Scudder is the "nom de plume" (or "nom de guerre") of a fifty-ish-year-old writer and stroke survivor. He lives in St Louis with his wife and still-at-home children. He has been a freelance writer and occasional political activist since the early nineties. He describes his politics as Tolkienesque.

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