It could have happened earlier, but up to now the digital disruption of the American retail market seems to have been affecting mostly suburban shopping centers and department stores. Anyhow, the number of chain stores in New York's five boroughs has gone down for the first time in the 11-year history of “State of the Chains,” the annual retail-market survey conducted by the Center for an Urban Future, a think tank based in Manhattan. Of the 331 national retailers surveyed this year, 99 opened stores and more than 110 closed them, for a net loss of 27 stores, or 0.3 percent.
Aerosoles, Nine West and Rockport, all of which have filed for bankruptcy recently, closed 13 units altogether. However, clothing and accessories was the sector hardest hit, with BCBG Max Azria closing seven stores, Aeropostale and Club Monaco closing five apiece, and Gap closing four.
Of the 86 fashion retailers surveyed, 16 posted net openings and 32 had net closures. All of the net losses in retail occurred in Manhattan, where a third of all the surveyed stores are located. In absolute figures, the expensive borough of skyscrapers lost 67 doors, more than were gained in all other boroughs combined.
On the bright side, Target opened seven stores, raising its total door count to 19. New York also gained a number of new direct-to-consumer shops, like those of Allbirds and Margaux, and concept stores like 10 Corso Como.