Retail was among the most severely impacted sectors during the pandemic crisis as we witnessed record level vacancy rates. However, several types of gritty retailers have actually seen gains since the lockdowns of 2020.
Not too many retailers are exiting the pandemic unscathed. According to Stan Johnson Company’s recently published report on retail tenant expansion, automotive and convenience store sectors are experiencing strong growth trends.
“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. said in an interview.GlobeSt.com
In additional, Advanced Auto Parts, Auto Zone, and Jiffy Lube are speeding to gain investor interests because of their resiliency and essentialness. Recent deals in the automotive sector include Machine Investment Group’s acquisition of a fully occupied, 8-property Jiffy Lube, totaling 38,360 SF in San Francisco.
As is the case for dollar or discount stores, as well as convenience stores. One retailer that is experiencing a significant ‘pandemic-push’ is ALDI. The discount grocery store is reporting ambitious levels of planned-growth having already started 2021 with the goal to open 100 new locations.
And while the industrial market shined through out the pandemic, industrial investors should be quick to note the expansion of equipment stores such as Sunbelt Rentals, who are looking to grow by 300 locations.
With many finding promise through the pandemic, other retailers such as gyms, or simply, non-essential retailers are starting to see a path to recovery. “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.”
What remains to be seen is—how and when— will the resurgence in COVID-19 with newfound variants, CDC guidelines, impact the positive trends across the commercial real estate landscape.