Chain stores left New York City in record numbers in 2019, according to a new report from the Center for an Urban Future (CUF) entitled “State of the Chains.”
The 12th annual report from the CUF noted a 3.7 percent decline in the number of chain stores in the city from a year ago, the largest drop they’ve mesaured yet. There were 8,136 qualified chain stores in 2018, but just 7,832 in 2019.
The report parsed out the numbers by borough, noting that Queens led the way with a 4.9 percent decrease in chains from a year ago, while Staten Island had the smallest decline with a 2.4 percent decrease. Nevertheless, this is the first time in a dozen years all five boroughs faced a decline in the same year.
“State of the Chains” went a step further and made mention of retailer trends by category and zip code, among other distinguishing aspects.
Here are a few notable takeaways from the CUF report:
- No food chain is hurting more than Subway, which closed 43 locations in the city last year, Remarkably, they’re still the fifth-biggest retailer in the city by volume, trailing only Dunkin’, Metro by T-Mobile, Starbucks, and Walgreens
- Payless Shoes, which filed for bankruptcy at the beginning of 2019, closed all 71 of their NYC locations. The next hardest-hit shoe company, by comparison, is Steven Madden, which closed just two locations
- Outside of Payless Shoes, seven other chains closed all of their NYC locations in 2019: Petland Discounts, Avenue, Gymboree, Crabtree & Evelyn, Red Robin, Bebe and FYE
- Viral chicken sandwiches may have spurred Popeye’s to add six locations in the city this year, but top rival Chick-fil-a added an identical six locations. They’re both lagging behind Taco Bell, which added eight NYC locations
- Fast casual chains are beginning to approach on more traditional food chains, as Dig Inn, Sweetgreen, Shake Shack and Chop’t all added multiple locations in 2019
- Some of the sharpest retailer declines from a year ago in the city come from Rite Aid, Subway, Mattress Firm, Sprint, Golden Krust, Ricky’s, Little Caesar’s and GNC
- Papyrus, Chop’t, Bluemercury and Insomnia Cookies all had at least ten locations in Manhattan, but none in any other borough
- Due to the rising Hudson Yards, the 10001 zip code had the most retail chains of any zip code in the city, with 183