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U.S. Retail Vacancy Rate Jumps on Toys ‘R’ Us Store Closings

The amount of occupied retail real estate in 77 major U.S. metropolitan areas dropped by 3.8 million square feet in the second quarter, the largest decline since 2009, according to a report by researcher Reis Inc.

(Bloomberg)—Kids across the country are feeling the absence of Toys “R” Us. Retail landlords, too.

The amount of occupied retail real estate in 77 major U.S. metropolitan areas dropped by 3.8 million square feet (350,000 square meters) in the second quarter, the largest decline since 2009, according to a report by researcher Reis Inc. released Monday. Shuttered stores once occupied by the company, now in bankruptcy proceedings, helped drive the national retail vacancy rate to 10.2 percent, up two-tenths of a percent from the first quarter and the highest level since 2014.

“The Toys ‘R’ Us store closings impacted the second-quarter statistics more than any other retailer has in any quarter over the last nine years,” wrote the authors of the report, who tracked more than 80 Toys “R” Us Inc. store closings in over 40 metros during the quarter.

The performance of the retail industry itself -- which has added more than 125,000 jobs in the past 12 months, more than four-fifths of them in physical stores, according to Reis -- shows what an outsize impact the collapse of Toys “R” Us had on retail real estate in the quarter.

Overall, 55 metros, or 71 percent of those surveyed, saw an increase in vacancies in the quarter. Among those with the biggest jumps were Little Rock, Arkansas; Fairfield, Connecticut; and Long Island, New York.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jordan Yadoo in Washington at [email protected] To contact the editors responsible for this story: Kristy Scheuble at [email protected] Peter Jeffrey, Daniel Taub

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