ICYMI: There was a slight decline in the number of NYC chain stores this past year

ICYMI (I did!): The Center for an Urban Future released its 11th annual ranking of national retailers in New York City late last year … and their analysis reveals a 0.3 percent decline in the number of chain stores in 2018, marking the first year-over-year citywide drop in national retail locations since they began documenting NYC‘s chain environment.

While there was a 0.3 decline overall in the five boroughs, the number of chain stores decreased by 2.3 percent in Manhattan, which amounts to a loss of 67 locations, according to the report.

Here’s more from the report…

Our 11h annual analysis of national retailer locations in New York also finds that more of the city’s chain retailers are shrinking than growing for the first time. Buffeted by headwinds from online shopping, a record 124 retailers — 37 percent of the 331 national retail companies in our study — reduced their footprint over the past year. This compares to 99 retailers that registered a net gain in stores over the past year, and 108 retailers whose footprints remained unchanged.

Overall, our analysis shows that the 331 retailers listed in last year’s ranking reduced their total footprint in New York City by 27 store locations, declining from a total of 7,876 stores in 2017 to 7,849 stores in 2018 — an 0.3 percent decrease. The slowdown is led by Manhattan, where the number of chain store locations shrank by 2.3 percent — the sharpest single year decline to date. In every other borough, the number of chain stores increased again this year.

The pullback was most pronounced among merchandise retailers that are struggling to compete in an age of e-commerce, with broad-based declines among retailers selling clothing, shoes, accessories, jewelry, and cosmetics.


Dunkin Donuts is the biggest national retailer in the city for the tenth year running, with 624 locations, gaining 12 locations since last year. MetroPCS (now called Metro by T-Mobile, but retaining a distinct brand) has 472 locations, up from 444 last year. Subway is still in third place with 330 locations despite having lost 103 locations since last year. Only seven retailers grew by more than 10 locations: AT&T, MetroPCS, Sprint, T-Mobile, Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, and Dollar Tree.

A few other takeaways…

• Starbucks has more stores in Manhattan than any other national retailer, with 227 locations.

• The 10003 zip code, which includes parts of the East Village west of First Avenue, Union Square and stretches of Fifth Avenue, has the second-highest number of chain store locations in NYC at 173 (down from 179 the previous year). No. 1: the New Springville neighborhood in Staten Island (10314) with 180.

• The 10009 zip code is way down on the list with 27 chain stores in 2018, down two from 29 the previous year.

Access the full report at this link.

Something to keep in mind, via the Greenwich Village Society of Historic Preservation:

[T]he report counts and ranks the number of chain stores, not their concentration, i.e. how many chain stores are in an area as a percentage of the overall number of stores; thus a zip code may actually have a very high number of chains but a relatively low percentage, and vice-versa, depending upon how much area it covers and how many shops there are in the area…

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