Too Many Stores for Columbus

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Jul 16, 2002
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A study ranks Columbus, Ohio, last among 35 major cities for the overall health of its retail industry, reports the Columbus Dispatch. Retail growth has outpaced population, job and income growth, despite an overall population increase, according to Marcus & Millichap, the national real-estate firm that prepared the study for potential investors.

“This is mostly a result of the major malls built in the last couple of years in Columbus,” says Jonathan Lee, Marcus & Millichap’s regional manager for Ohio. Assortments of new strip centers are making life difficult for investors and developers who have to compete in an increasingly crowded retail field.

The short-term result has been rising vacancies in older retail properties around town. Marcus & Millichap found that about 9.5 percent of Columbus store space is empty, which places Columbus in the bottom third of the nation’s largest cities. That vacancy rate is expected to rise to 11 percent by the end of the year.

Coastal cities fared well in the study while heartland cities struggled. Topping the list for the most-robust retail metropolitan areas in the nation were Washington, D.C.; San Diego; Orange County, Calif.; Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; and San Francisco. At the bottom of the list, just above Columbus, were Indianapolis, Charlotte, Milwaukee and Cincinnati.

Moderator Comment: Are most retailers operating in over-stored geographical environments? [George
Anderson – Moderator
]

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