Seattle Tops U.S. in Retail Sales Growth

New construction, few vacancies power robust sector
Posted: May, 20 2019
 
 
  • New construction, few vacancies power robust sector

Seattle’s soaring retail sector just keeps growing, even though nationally many retailers continue to struggle.

Overall retail sales in Seattle vaulted 10 percent the past year, the highest growth rate in the United States, according to a report from commercial property firm Marcus & Millichap. Seattle-area employers have added 155,000 jobs the past three years, and “the widespread hiring and additional higher-paying positions are pushing median household income gains well above that of the U.S., leading to discretionary spending,” the report says.

In 2017, median household income in Seattle was $86,822, according to DataUSA, a 4 percent jump from the previous year and about $25,000 higher than the U.S. average

Marcus & Millichap notes that about 700,000 square feet of new construction will be completed this year, and the regional retail vacancy rate is 3.8 percent. The rate has been under 5 percent for five years. In downtown Seattle, the retail vacancy rate is only 2.1 percent.

Nationally, however, many retailers are struggling. According to Coresight Research, retailers have announced plans to close 6,378 stores so far this year, which is already more than in all of 2018. Coresight estimates that up to 12,000 stores could close by the end of the year.

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