Seeing Where Location, Location, Location is Heading
By Al McClain
Lots of factors go into decisions about where to locate new stores, but looking for fast-growing markets is surely part of the mix. According to a new Wharton study, the fastest
future growth in the U.S. should occur in the West, the Sunbelt, and between Raleigh, NC and Atlanta, GA.
Generally, Americans are leaving the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, and Midwest, for sunnier and warmer areas. Areas expected to decline include Baltimore, New Orleans, Syracuse, Rochester,
Buffalo, Pittsburgh and Youngstown-Warren.
The Las Vegas area is forecast to grow by 85 percent, adding 1.35 million new residents by 2020. The attractions include weather, gambling, tourism and an “easy lifestyle.”
The study authors say that competition between cities to attract residents is much keener than it used to be, as the amenities that an area has to offer are key to driving growth.
Important factors include quality of life, parks and recreation, architecture, climate, taxes and, most importantly, the quality of education.
By 2020, the total U.S. population is expected to reach 336 million people. That factors in an anticipated increase of 53.7 million new Americans between 2000 and 2020.
Moderator’s Comment: Is it important for the retailing industry to think about population trends 15 years out?
It’s pretty well taken as fact that the U.S. population continues to move south and west, and that the ethnic make-up is continuing to become more
diverse. Retailers and suppliers are constantly trying to figure out what consumers are going to do next, and what the “next big thing” will be. But how far ahead should plans
be made? Is it unwise to try to strategize beyond the next five year period? –
Al McClain – Moderator