Spending follows millennial, Gen Z migration.

Retail Availability Shifts to Cities

Retail availability shifts to cities chart

Source: CBRE Econometric Advisors

For the first time since 2006, the retail availability rate across U.S. central business districts has surpassed the rate in the suburbs, according to CBRE data. As workers more rarely commute to urban offices, they’re spending more money in the areas where they live, says CBRE.

Couple walking along shopping district street

© Getty Images / Ben Richardson / Digitalvision

Suburban Migration Feeds Retail, Restaurants

On top of that, millennials and Gen Zers are starting families and departing city neighborhoods for the suburbs. “However, they still want the great chef-driven restaurants and trendy retail they had in town,” says Molly Morgan, executive vice president of retail leasing at JLL, as reported in GlobeSt.com. “Developers have met the demand for mixed-use, suburban downtown areas that create an experience hip retailers and restaurants are looking for, and they are seeing great success.” Examples include Halcyon in Alpharetta, Ga., a suburb of Atlanta, and Birkdale Village in Huntersville, N.C., a suburb of Charlotte.

People are demonstrating entrenched preferences to continue shopping, dining and finding entertainment close to home.

Smiling shopkeeper in doorway of a retail business.

© Getty Images / Maskot / Maskot

Retail town centers developed by Macerich, a retail owner, operator and developer, are gaining traction in attractive suburban markets. “Post-pandemic, people are demonstrating entrenched preferences to continue shopping, dining and finding great entertainment close to home,” Doug Healey, Macerich senior executive vice president for leasing, told GlobeSt.com. “Hip retailers are certainly mindful of this ongoing trend.”

Adapted from “Urban Retail Availability Increases as Suburbs Flourish,” written by Richard Berger and published in the July 17, 2023, edition of GlobeSt.com.


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