The ICSC Retail Report says retailers are set to open about 40,000 U.S. stores between November 2014 and November 2015, a 1.2% increase in store opening plans compared with year-end 2013, according to an RBC Capital Markets database of 2,000 chains. The retailers reported plans to open 77,547 stores between November 2014 and November 2016 over the next two years, an increase of 0.7 percent relative to the projections at year-end 2013, the firm reports.
Men’s apparel is likely to see the greatest jump in openings over the next 24 months, with 373 new stores in the pipeline, representing an increase of 3%, according to RBC. Men’s Wearhouse announced plans to open the first flagship store of its upscale Joseph Abboud brand this spring, on New York City’s Madison Avenue.
Food is a fast-growing category too. In-N-Out Burger is rolling out in Texas, while California-based Pieology is aiming for at least 20 new sites across the country, and Utah-based Kneaders Bakery & Cafe is expanding into Colorado and Texas. Starbucks is serving up two new concepts this coming year, an “express” shop that concentrates on mobile orders and a digital-pay platform, and a 15,000-square-foot Starbucks Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room format that will roll out in Seattle this month. The company will add about 1,600 units in total worldwide in 2015, about 50 more than in 2014.
Supermarkets are growing as well. Whole Foods is expanding aggressively, including a Canadian push. The chain has plans to open 40 stores in 2015 and about as many again the following year. That represents square-footage growth about 10% square footage growth over its existing 15-million-square-feet, said Co-CEO Walter Robb. German-owned Aldi’s acquisition of Bottom Dollar Food this year was part of a strategy to add 650 U.S. stores by 2018. In Houston alone, HEB and Kroger are flexing their muscles with plans for 15 to 20 combined new stores over the next 18 months. And Publix, Safeway and Save-A-Lot are planning for about 30 each, while Grocery Outlet, Harris Teeter and Walmart Neighborhood Market are each bringing out roughly 20 in 2015.
For the fiscal year ending Jan. 31, 2016, Walmart expects to roll out between 26 million and 30-million-square-feet of net retail space worldwide, down from 32 million to 34 million square feet in 2014, owing to a moderation in large-format store growth and accelerated e-commerce investments, the company says.
International tenants continue to seek U.S. space, meanwhile, because they perceive that this country is healthier than most. “A lot of U.S. companies are beating earnings, and the metrics of unemployment and housing are improved, which is attracting new brands,” said Michael Hirschfeld, a senior vice president and head of the luxury practice group at JLL. In fact, European luxury retailers “are now more aggressive in the U.S. than anywhere in the world,” he added. Joe & the Juice, a Denmark-based coffee, juice and sandwich seller; Japan-based Yo! Sushi; and U.K.-based Hamleys toys are among the retailers from overseas.
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