Retailers in the U.S. plan to open more new stores this year than close stores, indicating a hopeful sign for a rebounding sector. The news of more retailers in expansion mode follows a strenuous year of survival for many retailers, in which the COVID-19 pandemic caused many shutdowns in 2020.
Grocery, fast-casual, and value stores are the retail leaders that are planning to expand this year, according to the report from RetailSphere. More than half of the companies in these three sectors say they intend to further develop their businesses this year, according to RetailSphere.
“Some companies are opening a handful of stores; others are expanding by hundreds,” according to the report. “Grocery, convenience, and fast-casual and value dominate the list of national and regional retailers that are growing.”
Discount stores—like Family Dollar and Dollar Tree—are expected to add the most stores this year, opening 500 and 700 locations, respectively.
During the pandemic, retailers closed a record number of locations, according to CoStar Group. But the increase in vaccinations and a rebound in consumer spending in brick-and-mortar retail locations is helping the retail sector to recover.
2021 is on track to have the least amount of retail shops closing in more than a decade, according to CoStar.
The sector isn’t out of the woods yet, however. Fears over an increase in COVID-19 cases could curtail in-person shopping once again. In July, 58% of shoppers surveyed say they felt safe going into stores. But in August, the highly contagious delta variant began to spread in the U.S., causing that percentage to drop to 47%, according to a retail report from Springboard.