In the days of coronavirus, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by all the bad news splashed across newspaper headlines, television chyrons and on social media. At Ground + Space, we strive to find the silver linings in even the most desperate of situations in order to provide our clients with a more comprehensive outlook on the economy as it relates to the commercial real estate sector. Let’s take a look at some of the major takeaways from the first few weeks of the third financial quarter of 2020:
STNL Properties are Poised for Success
Popular single-tenant net leased (STNL) properties include many essential retailers. Quick-service restaurants (QSR), auto parts stores like The Tire Choice, convenience stores, home improvement retailers and drugstore giants like CVS Pharmacy have all survived the COVID-19 pandemic relatively unscathed thus far. Not only are net-leased assets showing resilience in the face of a global pandemic, they are also properties that continue to attract capital in times of economic downturn.
What’s the secret to their success? Numerous national chains—like Wendy’s and McDonald’s—were aided by in-place drive-thru service, while more traditional restaurant chains and other brick-and-mortar essential retailers benefited from robust delivery, carryout and curbside pick-up platforms. Although many of these retailers reported a dramatic decline in foot traffic, those same retailers have seen profits soar as consumers increase the size of their receipts. Lowe’s and The Home Depot in particular set record highs for sales in the second financial quarter.
Power and Lifestyle Centers Outperform Expectations
Traditional enclosed shopping centers and malls have long been on the decline, but lifestyle and power centers have remained top of mind for both investors and consumers. The prevalence of essential retailers in these types of shopping centers—especially well-known grocery anchors like Whole Foods—has allowed operations to remain strong. In fact, only six percent of net absorption for the year thus far has occurred within this particular sector. A whopping 25 percent of newly vacant space has occurred at malls as retailers like GNC, Victoria’s Secret and Gap announced massive closures. As the market resizes, power and lifestyle centers will most likely attract both tenants and shoppers from malls as they begin to close for good.
Consumer Spending Begins to Recover
Although there has been little progress made regarding extending benefits from the original COVID-19 stimulus package, some segments of the country’s population have begun spending again. By June, many markets saw retail sales increases near pre-pandemic levels. However, only time will tell if this trend will continue into the third and fourth financial quarters. Several states have slowed or halted their reopening plans as new clusters of positive COVID-19 cases arise. If these trends continue, consumer confidence and, in turn, consumer spending, may decline yet again.
Ground + Space is Here to Help
Ground + Space is a leading commercial real estate firm that specializes in single-tenant and retail NNN investments. We have several listings available featuring retailers that are in a prime position to succeed in a post-pandemic economy. We are committed to providing up-to-date information and best-in-class services to clients during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
Stay Safe and Informed
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers daily updates and other information about COVID-19 symptoms and testing in the United States. Johns Hopkins University (JHU) has created a resource to help inform the public and advance comprehensive understanding of the novel coronavirus and its effects backed by experts in global public health, infectious disease and emergency preparedness. Additionally, the World Health Organization (WHO) continues to track the number and location of confirmed cases of the virus across the globe.