Big-Box Store Landlords See Signs Shoppers Still Spending
Some big-box store and mall owners in both national and Philadelphia commercial real estate markets are releasing sighs of relief: Consumers still are spending and could keep that up throughout the crucial holiday shopping season and into 2020, lifting any concerns of an immediate acceleration in store closings.
Peering into the earnings results of some the nation’s predominant big-box discounters like Target and TJ Maxx can offer a sense the economy and consumer confidence in the U.S. commercial real estate market – including Philly office space, Philly retail space and Philly industrial space – will stay strong, at least for now.
That’s been a much-talked-about topic recently in U.S. and Philadelphia commercial real estate listings circles as investors awaited earnings reports they hoped would shed light on the current state of an industry evolving quickly to balance in-store and e-commerce sales as well as its brick-and-mortar footprint.
This CoStar Realty Information Inc. report from Jennifer Waters involving U.S. and Philadelphia commercial properties is being made through Philadelphia commercial real estate broker Wolf Commercial Real Estate, a Philadelphia commercial real estate brokerage firm.
Store closings across the U.S. commercial real estate market – including Philly office space, Philly retail space and Philly industrial space – have been at a record pace, causing owners, investors and lenders to watch retail earnings reports closely to see if any slowing demand could mean more closings and empty store property on their hands.
Even with results that fell short of some of Wall Street’s expectations, retailers repeated the same song: the economy is still ticking away, and consumers still are in good shape. Of course, many of these retailers in national and Philadelphia commercial real estate properties remain focused on keeping their costs low, which can help lure shoppers into stores. The harder test is faced by the department stores that offer more expensive items and are reporting earnings results later this week.
But for the lower-cost sellers, the healthy results came despite the Commerce Department’s October sales report, which showed a reduction in spending tied mostly to vehicles and gasoline sales, two volatile segments. Skipping over those, spending rose, albeit at a speck of 0.1 percent, but analysts mostly have disregarded those factors as outliers.
Target, for example, exceeded earnings expectations with results that buttressed its strategy of providing consumers with unique items. The Minneapolis-based chain introduced new apparel brands, a proprietary grocery brand, and opened 25 mini Disney stores last month at competitive prices.
TJ Maxx, the parent of its namesake stores as well as Marshalls, Home Goods, and Home Sense in Canada, also reported robust results and plugged its forecasts. For TJ Maxx, for example, the wave of store closings has been a boon to the company’s business model of purchasing leftover inventory and selling it at reduced prices.
There are exceptions, such as J.C. Penney and Kohl’s, which are scrambling for ways to keep their brands relevant, according to analysts. While big-box and mall owners with national and Philadelphia commercial real estate listings continue to keep an eye on those retailers, they can rest assured that consumers are still opening wallets as job growth continues to keep unemployment at low levels. – By Jennifer Waters, CoStar Realty Information Inc.
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