ChainLinks Releases Spring 2012 Retailer and Restaurant Expansion Guide

ChainLinks Retail Advisors is proud to announce the release of their Spring 2012 Retailer and Restaurant Expansion Guide.  This comprehensive report details the current expansion plans for over 2,500 U.S. retail and restaurant chains.  This interactive guide can be downloaded at:

“This year’s report is bigger and better than ever,” said Matt Kircher, President of ChainLinks Retail Advisors.  “We are covering the plans of more retailers than ever before in a publication that is unlike any other in the commercial real estate industry.  No one in the industry tracks retailer demand in such a detailed manner at the space user level, let alone publishes anything approaching the depth and the scope of the information that we are sharing.  We really think that this report established the gold standard in the industry for retail research reporting.”

The report finds retailer demand up approximately 5% over last year’s levels.  “While this guide is more about detailing the individual plans of different retail chains, there are a few interesting metrics that we came across while doing our research,” said ChainLinks National Retail Research Director, Garrick Brown.  “Though demand levels initially had been flat initially after the 2011 holiday sales season, many retailers have been modestly upping their expansion plans over the last couple of months as economic news has remained mostly positive.”

The report tracks stated growth plans of retailers and restaurant chains within the United States over the next twelve months utilizing information shared by retailers and the brokerage community as well as information shared in quarterly shareholder reports, media coverage and reliable analysts.  “In compiling this information,” said Brown, “I have created a metric that adds up the total amount of potential space that could be absorbed should every chain proceed with their stated growth goals.  Right now, I am tracking as much as 230 million square feet in potential growth requirements and this is up 5% over last year’s totals.”

“This number sounds very high,” continued Brown, “but it is best to just think of it as a benchmark figure.  Actual growth will be a fraction of that total,” he explained.  The reason behind this is that the survey includes the stated goals of many franchise-driven chains that tend to release franchising goals that are often highly inflated, as opposed to actual hard and fast store opening plans.  The report also does not take into account planned store closures or relocations.  Said Brown, “Actual annual growth will be far below this benchmark number and it will be spread across a wide variety of retail property types, but the real takeaway is that this figure is up 5% and that this should generally translate into improved growth this year.”

While this will come as good news for the nation’s retail landlords, the news is not all rosy.  “Demand is being driven by discounters, grocery store chains, off-price apparel retailers, fast food and fast casual dining concepts,” shared Brown.  “Growth from those players will help to lower vacancy for most shopping center types.  However, demand is down from a lot of the mid-priced chains, particularly apparel concepts.  Between that and planned closures from the likes of Sears, The Gap and Payless Shoes, this will translate into increasing mall vacancy in the months ahead.”

According to the report, some of the most active retailers currently include;

·         Subway is hoping to open as many as 2,500 stores worldwide this year.

·         Dollar General is planning 650 new stores in 2012.

·         Family Dollar is planning 500 new stores this year.

·         7 Eleven is planning on at least 300 new stores over the next 12 months.

·         CVS is planning 300 new stores.

·         Dollar Tree is planning 300 units in 2012.

About ChainLinks
Founded in 1979, ChainLinks is the leading retail real estate advisory services organization in North America serving America’s premier retailers, landlords, and investors.  We are comprised of privately-owned, entrepreneurial companies in 60+ cities, and 800+ handpicked retail broker specialists.

Collectively, ChainLinks members completed over 5,000+/- transactions, and leased or sold 160,000,000+ square feet in 2010 alone.  Our member offices offer services in tenant representation such as strategic planning, site selection, transaction negotiation, market overviews, mapping and demographic analysis, and surplus property disposition.  Landlord representation services include project leasing, asset and property management, pre-development and re-development consulting, and income property sales; and hospitality real estate services.  ChainLinks provides a framework for its retail broker specialists to service clients by combining their local market expertise with the information and relationships built over our national organization and coverage.

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