Strong economic fundamentals carried into 2018 with the U.S. unemployment rate remaining unchanged at a low 4.1%, and competition for both skilled and unskilled workers putting upward pressure on wages. Consumer confidence remains at a historically high level indicating future growth. These consumer metrics are all positive signs for a strong retail market. The first quarter of any year is traditionally when retail closure announcements accelerate, and the first quarter of 2018 was no exception, despite following the strongest holiday shopping season since the Great Recession. There is a definite wave of consolidation cycling through the retail marketplace, but there are two important things to keep in mind. First, perception is worse than reality; not all of the news is negative. Expansion announcements are happening at the same time that closure news is breaking, they just don’t garner as much attention. Second, the issue is not about consumers not spending money; rather it is the radical shift in how they are spending it.
Read about how 2018 kicked-off for retail and where the growth is happening in this quarter’s Cushman & Wakefield U.S. Shopping Center MarketBeat report.