2012 Forecast: More of the Same

ChainLinks Retail Advisors, a retail-only real estate services firm, has just released its U.S. National Retail Report 2012 Forecast, which predicts another slow year ahead for the sector.

According to the report, there will be fewer retail bankruptcies in 2012 than there were in 2011 and the national vacancy rate will go down. But many of the retailers that propelled the sector's growth in the past few years, including chains like TJ Maxx, Marshall's and Ross Dress For Less, might slow down expansion next year. Most of the growth will come from the dollar stores, fast food restaurants and fast casual chains.

The report's authors caution that:

Looking forward, we continue to have strong concerns over mid-priced retail chains.
Chains caught in the middle will be where the most contraction occurs and though we don't expect retail closures to approach last year's levels, they will continue to mitigate growth across the board. Vacancy will shrink in 2012, but it will be at a slow pace, measured more by basis points than by percentage points.
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