Most national retail chain stores had limited growth in New York City during the last year, according to a study by the Center for an Urban Future, a public policy group.
The study found that 31 percent of national retailers closed stores, up from 20 percent a year ago. However, the 307 retailers studied increased overall stores by 1.6 percent to 6,994 retail locations, up from 6,883 in 2010.
Some of the closings were related to bankruptcies, including Borders, Hollywood Video and Blockbuster. But clothing stores also downsized, with American Apparel closing 13 of its 20 stores in 2010, Ann Taylor downsizing to 10 stores from 19, and the Gap closed four stores, with more closings planned. Telecommunications companies Verizon Wireless and Sprint also closed stores, as well as KFC and Quizno's.
Dunkin Donuts remained the largest chain in the city for the fourth consecutive year, with 466 stores, but did not increase. Subway was the second-largest chain, adding 41 stores, an increase of 10.5 percent, for a total of 430 stores. Metro PCS is now the third-largest chain with 272 locations, up from 216 in 2010, dropping Starbucks to fourth-largest chain. The coffee chain, which has closed shops in previous years, grew by three percent to 263 stores, concentrated in Manhattan.
Other expanding chains included Family Dollar, which expanded from five to 49 locations, Sunglasses Hut, which increased from 19 to 32 stores and Five Guys, which increased from 14 to 22 burger chains. A total of 86 retailers, or 28 percent of the companies, added locations.
The report also classified retail stores by type, finding that 42.2 percent of stores sell food and beverages. Apparel stores were the second largest category, at 15.4 percent, while pharmacies, including Duane Reade and Rite Aid, comprise nine percent. In a sign of shifting neighborhoods, Canarsie and Bushwick in Brooklyn each added seven new chains, while Queens' Flushing increased by 11 chains and Rego Park saw nine new locations. Manhattan's Greenwich Village, Midtown West and Upper East Side saw double-digit decreases.
A looming retail fight is the wholesale chain Walmart's potential entrance into the New York market. Walmart is reportedly considering space at a space owned by the Related Companies in East New York.
Write to Roland Li at r.li@IBTimes.com