National Retailers Dial Back Local Presence, While Lower Manhattan Retail Rebounds Overall
A new report from the Center for an Urban Future (CUF), a public policy think tank, documents that the proliferation of chain stores in Lower Manhattan has decreased slightly during the past 12 months, part of a City-wide trend that appears to be one lingering symptom of the Covid pandemic.
The CUF report, “State of the Chains, 2023,” indicates that there are currently 338 chain stores in Lower Manhattan, down from 349 in 2022. (CUF defines chain stores as businesses that have “at least two locations in New York City and at least one location outside the City limits.”) This local decline of 3.15 percent tracks almost exactly to the broader retrenchment of 3.1 percent that the CUF analysis observed in the City as a whole.
The most prominent Lower Manhattan casualty among chain stores was likely the Bed Bath & Beyond store in Tribeca, which shuttered over the summer, as its corporate parent was liquidated in bankruptcy proceedings. At the start of the year, the Rite Aid pharmacy in Brookfield Place closed abruptly, followed by the Duane Reade at Broadway and Wall Street. The CUF report notes that Duane Reade has closed a total of 16 stores through the five boroughs in 2023, while Rite Aid shut down 55 New York City locations this year. Elsewhere, several Starbucks locations in the Financial District closed their doors in the previous 12 months, apparently as a result of unsuccessful lease-renewal negotiations with landlords.
Separately, the Lower Manhattan Real Estate Market Report, a quarterly analysis from the Downtown Alliance, documents that retail establishments of all sorts (whether national chains or small businesses) appear to be rebounding in Lower Manhattan. This analysis indicates that there have been 58 retail openings thus far in 2023 (split among 29 restaurant/bar establishments, ten devoted to shopping, and 19 hosting personal/business services), compared to 40 closures (divided between 23 restaurants/bars, ten shopping emporia, and 7 personal/business services storefronts).