STABLE FUNDAMENTALS DESPITE CLOSURES, RETAIL EVOLUTION CONTINUES

The closure of Walmart and Sam’s Club, and the recently-announced closure of two Sears stores in the region, is a signal of the continuing evolution and repositioning of retail. Though Q1 was marked by new vacancies, the net absorption in new developments, including Delta Shores and Rocklin Crossings, helped offset the losses. Big box vacancies will keep the vacancy rate from declining to pre-recession levels, as the new normal for national retail is a smaller footprint with a focus on delivering experiences or delivering straight to customers’ homes. With the landscape shifting toward a greater ratio of service, experience and food oriented tenants, demand for well-located, right-sized space is as high as ever. We’re seeing a spread in lease rates, with high-demand centers increasing rates and obsolete spaces discounting. The resulting average has leveled off overall.