It seems that in spite of a recent spate of bad news from some mid-market retailers, the retail sector overall continues on a stable course, according to the March “National Retailer Demand Monthly” report from RBC Capital Markets. The report shows that the overall number of U.S. store openings planned for the next 12 to 24 months remains the same as at year-end 2014, while certain sectors, including hardware stores and discount department stores, are showing double-digit increases in year-over-year opening plans.
“We note strength in women’s apparel, athletic apparel, discount department stores, furniture and grocers,” wrote Rich Moore, a REIT analyst with RBC and one of the report’s authors. “In all, the outlook for store openings remains broadly very healthy, which should, in turn, generate continued strength in operating fundamentals at the real estate level.”
According to RBC’s estimates, the retailers in its database plan to open a total of 40,923 new locations over the next year and 76,565 new locations over the next two years, numbers that barely differ from those reported last December. (The 12-month figure went down by 12 locations, and the 24-month figure increased by 20 locations).
In November, U.S. retailers’ two-year store opening plans reached a new high of 77,547 new locations, while one-year opening plans totaled 40,298.
Among non-food retailers that plan to grow the most as a percentage of their current store count, consignment chain Children’s Orchard plans to open 100 new locations over the next 24 months, apparel retailer Urban Outfitters plans to open 60 stores, while children’s apparel seller Crazy 8 plans to open another 80 stores. Dollar General and Family Dollar, however, continue to dominate in the overall number of planned store openings, with 1,300 and 1,000 new locations planned respectively for the next 24 months. (Sandwich chain Subway continues to hold the number 1 spot with 5,000 planned new locations).