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Retail’s Rebound: Post-Pandemic Outlook


Brick-and-mortar retail has faced a multitude of challenges throughout the pandemic. Despite the seemingly endless curing of negative headlines, the sector has been quietly building its comeback in the most unexpected ways. While some of the credit lies with the successful rollout of vaccines coupled with stimulus checks, consumer confidence has been steadily growing and specific retailer types have been doubling down on their investments. The suburbs, too, are a key player in what’s driving this retail renaissance.

Consumer Confidence is Key

Without consumer confidence, retailers have little to work with – it’s a key indicator of the sector’s growth trajectory. And with the strongest income growth ever recorded – little of which has been spent – consumers are poised to let loose and return to normal life. Middle-and-high-income households have built up strong wealth and savings during the pandemic, reporting a record high of $116.5 trillion in Q3 2020, a result of soaring stocks, home values and income. This mix of factors has set the stage for a strong consumer spending surge that we’re starting to see slowly unfold.

A Shift to the Suburbs

Before the pandemic, the suburbs faced challenges competing with the urban lifestyle. But, as millennials started entering their 30s, a shift from urban cores toward the suburbs started to emerge. This trend only accelerated throughout the pandemic; as a result, there has been a significant net-out migration in large northern cities throughout the U.S. This has contributed to more suburban opportunities, especially in locations that boast easy access to transportation hubs, retail and restaurant amenities, such as the Central and Northern New Jersey suburbs, which are among the top regions in the country that have witnessed healthy migration activity over the last year.


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