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Retail Earnings Recap

August 23, 2013

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By Charles Ferlisi, Southpace Director of Development & Construction Consulting


Some of you may be wondering about the vitality of the retail real estate environment. You might be wondering, where are we right now? If you ask folks, ‘how’s business?’ most will tell you it’s better. But is it?

One analyst referred to our economy as an “either or” economy.  However, if you look at the national scene, the U.S. Census Bureau recently released sales figures that illustrate a general upswing among most retail segments.

Let’s look at the categories that create the most jobs for us:

  • Grocery store — sales UP 2.7% (YoY)
  • General merchandise — sales UP 1.1% (YoY)
  • Electronics appliance — sales DOWN .4% (YoY)
  • Building material, garden and supplies — UP 7.9% (YoY)
  • Furniture and furnishing — UP 2.9%
  • Food service and drinking establishments — UP .3%

In perspective, inflation was UP 2% YoY and GDP was 1.7% for the 2nd quarter 13

Go figure, right.

To dig deeper, here are a few specific companies’ sales figures:

  • Walmart — DOWN .03% (YoY) vs. Target — UP 1.2% (YoY)
  • Dollar General — UP 8.5% (YoY) and Family Dollar — UP 9% (YoY)
  • Home Depot — UP 11.4% (YoY) vs. Lowes — DOWN 2%
  • J.C. Penny — DOWN 12% (YoY) and American Eagle — DOWN 1.7% (YoY)
  • Hibbet Sports — UP 0.3% (YoY)
  • Books-a-Million — DOWN 13% (YoY)
  • Starbucks — UP 9% (YoY)
  • McDonalds — UP 1.6% (YoY)

To hit close to home, here’s what’s going on in the Birmingham market:

There are new tenants making new deals in Birmingham—and in Alabama in general—including the Dixie Fish Co. and Papadeaux restaurants, which are under construction on Highway 280. Another newcomer to the Birmingham market is the grocery chain, Sprouts, which focuses on healthy and organic food options. Sprouts plans to add two stores to the Birmingham area soon.

Brick & Tin is adding a new location in Mountain Brook Village while Food Bar, a George McMillian III concept (formerly of Daniel George) will open in Cahaba Heights. Plus, the downtown area is looking to add a fast food and drug store on Twentieth Street South.

A new Panera Bread, AT&T, Burger King and Dunkin Doughnuts are slated for a Gardendale arrival, and Fultondale will soon have an Aldi and a Bojangle’s.

In summary I would say that the analyst quote above of “either or” is a “neither nor”.  All of these facts give rise to the notion that, well, we’re on the rise.


Southpace Properties, Inc. is Alabama’s largest independent commercial real estate firm. At Southpace, we add value to the use and ownership of commercial real estate through services such as office, retail, land, warehouse and industrial sales and leasing, tenant and landlord representation, development, consulting, investment sales, property management and construction management. With 12 CCIM designees, Southpace has the state’s highest number of CCIM accredited brokers under one roof. 


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