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Retail Traffic



The number of shopping centers* increased 10 percent, translating to more than 700 centers, in 2004, with the largest growth in Florida, according to the National Research Bureau Shopping Center Census. “This conservative growth has resulted in a 5.4 percent increase in retail sales per square foot versus a 3.2 percent increase in 2003,” says Nancy Veatch, retail director of the CoStar Group, NRB's parent. Below are the top 10 growth states:

73 Florida
49 California
47 North Carolina
46 Illinois
29 Texas
24 Washington
New York, Ohio, 23 Missouri, Arizona

*NRB defines a shopping center as three or more stores built as a unified structure.

Source: 2005 NRB Shopping Center Census


The city of St. Louis benefits from dedicated corporate citizens and civic pride. For several decades, the city enjoyed a downtown building boom and significant historic preservation efforts. Tourism, convention and cultural activities generate strong support in this gateway to the West on the Mississippi River. Nevertheless, the city has not been able to turn around losses of population and retail sales to the more rapidly growing and prosperous suburbs.

Retail is struggling downtown: The city lost St. Louis Center, but St. Louis Union Station continues to perform well as the No. 1 shopping destination for downtown visitors and tourists.

As is the case with many Midwest metropolitan areas, the action is in the suburbs. Many suburban centers have consistently done quite well, while others have only just begun to prosper. It is important to note that St. Louis, being the former home of May Co., for many years had more shopping centers than required.

The best centers in the metro area, St. Louis Galleria and Plaza Frontenac, are close to each other on the west side. The two centers attract upper-income customers from far and wide. Plaza Frontenac tilts toward the luxury shopper. St. Louis Galleria, with comparatively higher levels of foot traffic, offers a more broad-based appeal and better tenant mix.

In terms of numbers of centers, Westfield has taken the dominant position in town. Westfield West County Center, with a renovation introducing Nordstrom's to the market, should capture more high-end business to improve on its overall performance.

Farther out on the northern edge, the new St. Louis Mills is expected to demonstrate a typical Mills profile, drawing discount shoppers from a greatly enlarged trade area.

Alton Square D
Westfield Chesterfield Mall B-
Westfield Crestwood Plaza C
Jamestown Mall C
Westfield Mid Rivers Mall B-
Westfield Northwest Plaza C
Plaza Frontenac B-
Westfield South County Center B+
St. Clair Square B+
St. Louis Galleria A-
St. Louis Mills B
St. Louis Union Station B-
Westfield West County Center B-

The information presented for traffic estimates and regional malls is gained from a variety of sources used in developing the Bieri Market Reports. These sources are public and private, and may even include the developers themselves. When traffic counts are not available, grades are determined by reviewing sales of anchor stores and specialty tenants within a subject project, and then comparing those with like projects.

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