Consumer spending, once it resumes full growth around 2011, will expand at only half the rate of recent years without the prop of rapidly rising household wealth boosted by the housing boom and the stock market rally earlier in the decade.
Retail sales growth also will moderate due to demographic shifts to age cohorts that spend relatively less, and shifts to income groups who spend less of their incomes on discretionary retail goods. Higher taxes and greater shares of household budgets going to non-retail spending are also likely in the offing, further depressing retail sales.
Fewer retailers will survive to fill the nation's shopping centers, the result of the economic downturn, reversal of retail over-expansion, and relentless competitive pressures to wean out underperforming concepts and operators. Retail chains also will be leasing less space per store as they seek more efficient formats, reversing longstanding trends toward ever increasing store sizes.
Near-term retail spending will swing away from luxury goods, especially home-oriented items, and focus more on everyday necessities, services and value-oriented discretionary spending. Discount retailers will benefit at the expense of full-price merchants.
Shifts in the regional distribution and ethnic composition of future population growth portend further shifts in the location and nature of retail demand, providing new development and repositioning opportunities, as well as challenges to existing centers.