2004 Mid-Year Retail Market Review
The Columbia, South Carolina retail market continued to perform very well in the first half of 2004 with only minor market fluctuations in occupancy rates and in rental rates during the first six months of 2004. Strong national consumer confidence and consumer spending strengthened the retail market. Occupancy at mid-year 2004 was 90.3%, a minor change from 91.9% at year-end 2003. Rental rates have retracted slightly from $11.77 per square foot at year-end 2003 to $11.36 per square foot at midyear 2004. The rental rate decrease was attributed to big-box vacancies being filled at lower rental rates.
Columbia’s four enclosed malls, totaling over 3,500,000 square feet, also remained strong with occupancy rates increasing to 94.5% at mid-year 2004 up from 92.6% at year-end 2003 and 90.7% at year-end 2002. Average rental rates for malls were unchanged from year-end 2003, remaining at $24.65 per square foot. Average sales per square foot in the enclosed malls remained strong at $287.21 per square foot. The average pro rata pass-through expenses for regional malls were relatively unchanged at $11.89 per square foot.
Recent new tenants to Columbia’s enclosed malls included the Black Lion home décor center at Richland Fashion Mall, and Williams-Sonoma, and Coldwater Creek at Columbiana Center.
The Columbia market is anticipated to remain strong for the remainder of 2004 and into the first half of 2005 as consumer spending increases during the holiday season. Occupancies are expected to remain above 90% for the coming twelve months. New development activity and redevelopment activity will be strong in the next twelve months as retailers continue to attempt to out-position their competition. One note of continued concern will be the vacant big box properties, which continue to appear in the Columbia market. Rental rates will continue to increase as occupancy rates increase slightly.
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