Big retail and food chains are slowing retreating from the Big Apple in record numbers.
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According to a new report, for the first time in 11 years, nationally known chains such as Subway, Aerosoles, Au Bon Pain and a slew of others are closing more stores in New York City than they’re opening.
The Center for an Urban Future found that a record 124 retailers have reduced their store footprint over the past year, nearly double the 65 retailers that cut back store locations last year.
The report found that the slowdown is being led by Manhattan, where the number of chain store locations shrank by 2.3 percent—“the borough’s sharpest single decline to date.” Overall, the number of chain stores in the city declined by 0.3 percent to 7,849 in 2018, which is also the first year-over-year decrease in the report’s history.
Among the food chains who have exited this year, Subway had the single biggest drop in stores at 103 locations, followed by Au Bon Pain with seven closures, Checkers with six, and Panera Bread and Wingstop with five closures each.
Multiple clothing and accessory brands have also made mass exits this year. Aerosoles, Sunglass Hut, BCBG Max Azria, Bolton’s, Aeropostale, Club Monaco, True Religion, Claire’s, Fossil and Gap have all closed multiple locations this year.
What’s more, just this week, Gap announced its plans to close its iconic Fifth Avenue location a few weeks after the new year. The news follows a previous report from Gap in November citing slow sales could result in hundreds of closures of its namesake stores “with urgency.”
"New York City, United States - December 13, 2012: People walking on the sidewalk along the Gap store at Fifth Avenue in Midtown Manhattan New York City. With more than 3000 stores worldwide this American company sells clothing and accessories."
However, despite the overall slowdown, the report does point out that dozens of national retailers are continuing to expand across the five boroughs in New York City.
The biggest gains by far were among cellular phone companies, which added a combined 129 stores last year. Coffee chains such as Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts also have big gains in 2018 with 15 and 12 new locations, respectively.
And for the 11th year in a row, Dunkin’ Donuts continues to be the biggest national retailer in the city, with a staggering 624 locations across all five boroughs. T-Mobile has the second-most locations, with 472, up from 444 last year.