With months of mandated closures, social distancing restrictions and tempered consumer demand, the retail market certainly took a hit during the pandemic. But not all retailers are exiting the pandemic for the worse. In fact, many are in expansion mode or already experiencing a swift rebound from the pandemic.
Stan Johnson Co. recently published a Retail Tenant Expansion Report to outline the growth trends in the retail market. The report shows several retailers across sectors that are expanding their current footprint. “The automotive and convenience store sectors are reporting strong levels of planned expansion, with 7-Eleven looking to grow significantly in the long term, Quik Trip planning a significant regional expansion, and many of the aftermarket auto parts stores looking to add net new stores in the coming year,” Lanie Beck, director of corporate research, marketing and communications at Stan Johnson Co., tells GlobeSt.com. On the automotive side, Advance Auto Parts, Auto Zone and Jiffy Lube are in expansion mode, and they are catching investor interest as a result. For example, just a few days ago, Machine Investment Group closed on the acquisition of an 8-Property Jiffy Lube portfolio in the San Francisco Bay Area. The portfolio totals 38,360 square feet and it 100% occupied by Jiffy Lube International under triple-net leases.
Retailer Sunbelt Rentals is another retailer that is in expansion mode. The company has 300 locations planned in the next three years. “This growth will lead to opportunities for investors chasing assets in the industrial outdoor storage sector,” says Beck.
In addition, Beck notes that dollar stores and other discount retailers are also expanding. “Dollar stores and discount retailers are continuing to report high levels of planned growth, as are grocery stores, with the most robust growth coming from ALDI,” says Beck. “Many brands across the quick service restaurant sector are also growing fast, with several exploring new geographies and new store concepts.”
While not all retailers got a pandemic push, some are making a rapid recovery. Fitness centers are at the top of that list, according to Beck, who says that gyms are making a comeback. “As people learn to navigate the post-pandemic environment, we’re seeing consumers return to experiential and non-essential retail stores in droves,” says Beck. “Major fitness chains including LA Fitness, Life Time and Planet Fitness are all reporting new store openings.”
Banks are also recovering quickly, and many are starting to expand. “We’ll be keeping an eye on retail bank growth,” says Beck. “Bank of America and Chase Bank are two companies with aggressive growth plans, and we’ll see how these new developments translate to investor interest in the coming years.”