Retail, Retail, RetailMay 13, 2021
The last time I stuck my neck way out, it was to pound the table that we would have a Big V Recovery, a phrase I coined. I was dead-on accurate that time, so this means I must be right this time, right? I am just kidding, but I am sticking my neck out again right now and saying that this is the best time ever to purchase, invest in, and otherwise play in the retail space. Let me get right into it:
First – there is that old saw about buying low and selling high. It is low right now.
Second – as per several prior articles, much competition is scared off by the retail-pocolypse – but the downdraft, in my view, only really applies to Zombie Retail (i.e., JC Penney) and not to Power Niche Retail, which is enjoying the benefits of lower rents and available space in which to expand at reasonable rents. Indeed, I am reading recently that retailers are controlling their destiny in places like NYC by buying retail condominiums.
Third – malls and shopping centers will benefit from a boom in consumer spending. My wife and I went “malling” only last week. We bought three pairs of really nice shoes when normally we would have bought one pair. I only had to sell one-hundredth of a share of my Tesla stock to do it – that is a joke, by the way, as I missed the Tesla trade.
Fourth – malls and shopping centers will also benefit from higher percentage rents plus a stronger and healthier tenant base.
Fifth – malls, which are the poster child for the retail downdraft, only have a vacancy rate of 11%, which to me seems incredibly positive. I looked at a historical chart, and it shows over the past twenty years, vacancy rates between about 5% to 11% (today) with an average of about 8%. Take a step back and think for a moment…..after the worst pandemic in 100 years, the vacancy rate rose a mere 3% above average…..isn't that great news?
Sixth, the media publish headlines like the following, "UBS: 80,000 Stores Doomed To Close As E-Commerce Spikes Further."
But even this particular article isn’t as gloomy as the headline. I mean, if 80,000 stores close over 5 years and 80,001 stores open in 5 years, it is kinda different. They don’t talk about that. If the media keeps up with articles like this, they will scare away even more of your competition.
You heard it here first: the death of retail has been dramatically exaggerated. This is the moment to buying into, lending on, and investing in retail.
Bruce Stachenfeld aka The Real Estate Philosopher™