Report: 2012 sees improved leasing for retail real estate

North Plainfield, N.J. -- A Thursday report by Levin Management Corp. found that leasing activity in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania improved in 2012.

According to Levin, much of the existing Class A vacancy has been absorbed, and yet leasing momentum continues. Additionally, following a period dominated by growth among value-oriented concepts, 2012 brought stepped-up leasing by restaurants as well as personal services, gyms and other tenants providing non-essential goods and services, said Levin, which reflects a renewed confidence in consumer spending and continued economic improvement.
Levin saw increased activity in the dining category, particularly through targeted regional growth by Chipotle, Moe’s Southwest Grill and Smashburger.

Supermarkets also were active, as national chains Stop & Shop and ShopRite, along with specialized grocers like Fairway Market, smaller formats such as Fresh Market, and specialized local shops geared toward a neighborhood’s ethnicity all are expanding regionally.

Apparel, on the other hand, presents a mixed bag, said Levin. Purely value-driven concepts like TJ Maxx, Marshall’s and Ross continue to do well and add locations. Some higher-end retailers, including Chico’s, are expanding as sales rebound while others are weeding out underperforming stores. The middle tier still is feeling a pinch in terms of sales volume and ongoing consolidations.

Ultimately, reported Levin, the level and scope of new leasing activity in 2012 indicates that retail has again entered a positive trajectory.


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