The latest look from RBC Capital Markets on retailer planned store openings, shows that tenants are slowly increasing their short-term and long-term growth goals. RBC, with data from Retail Lease Trac, compiles a monthly look at retailer demand for new space.
The report has registered three increases in the overall number of expansions in the past four months. As a result, retailers in the firms’ database (which excludes some larger retailers like Walmart and Target) currently plan to open 66,532 stores over the next 24 months. That is 1.2 percent higher than the previous month’s total of 65,723. (Overall, the retailers the firms monitor currently operate 745,821 stores.)
According to the report’s monthly commentary, “[R]etailers are clearly raising their plans for new stores. That notion was echoed at the big NAREIT Annual Convention [where] landlords suggested that retailers have expressed greater interest in store openings over the past two quarters. Most of that interest appears centered on national retailers, though regional retailers have shown increased interest as well.”
The fastest-growing sector in the database is the specialty gift category, which contains many seasonal tenants. Three Halloween stores represented 73 percent of the total increase in 24-month store opening plans. Overall, that sector has increased its expansion plans since December. Then, the sector was planning on adding 702 stores in 24 months. Today the figure is 1,612 stores. Overall, the sector plans to increase its store base by 20.2 percent from its current level of 4,513 stores. The printing/copy sector is second, with plans to grow its existing base of 4,942 stores by 8.1 percent. Houseware stores (5.4 percent), pet stores (4.5 percent) and craft supply stores (4.2 percent) round out the top five.
There is also a change at the top of the list. Quizno’s is curtailing its growth plans. Previously, the chain was far and away the leader with reported plans to open 1,950 stores over the next 24 months. It has dropped that total down to 1,200. As a result, Quizno’s remains the fastest growing retailer, but is now tied with the Dollar General. Dollar General isn’t the only dollar store that near the top of the list. The firm plans to add 1,200 locations in the next 24 months while Dollar Tree and Family Dollar each plan to add 600 new locations.