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Too Much Retail Space in America - 12/10/15

The actions of developers strongly suggests that there remains too much retail space in America.  According to real estate data firm CoStar Group, by the end of the current year, there will be about forty eight square feet of retail space per person in America.  That’s down from a record of nearly fifty square feet per person in two thousand and nine.  Two thousand and fifteen will represent the sixth consecutive annual drop and CoStar forecasts declines through at least twenty twenty. 

According to data from the International Council of Shopping Centers, the decline in per capita square footage has impacted most categories of retail real estate, including strip centers, convenience stores, and large malls.  As reported in the Wall Street Journal, the amount of retail square footage per person surged by fifty four percent between nineteen seventy and two thousand and nine.  According to CoStar, developers simply built too much. 

The most recent recession left many retailers vulnerable as shoppers pulled back.  Only one mall with at least a million square feet of leasable space has opened in American since two thousand and eight according to Green Street Advisors.  By contrast, over the ten year period ending in two thousand and five, fifty four such properties were developed.

Anirban Basu, Chariman Chief Executive Officer of Sage Policy Group (SPG), is one of the Mid-Atlantic region's leading economic consultants. Prior to founding SPG he was Chairman and CEO of Optimal Solutions Group, a company he co-founded and which continues to operate. Anirban has also served as Director of Applied Economics and Senior Economist for RESI, where he used his extensive knowledge of the Mid-Atlantic region to support numerous clients in their strategic decision-making processes. Clients have included the Maryland Department of Transportation, St. Paul Companies, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Players Committee and the Martin O'Malley mayoral campaign.