By W. Christopher "Chris" Walsh, Jr., MacKenzie Retail
Despite the high anxiety about the US economy, a 2.5 percent growth in retail sales has been reported for the 1st quarter of 2013. As we started the New Year, concerns continued to grow about employment, income growth, high gasoline prices, and the pending “fiscal cliff “ of tax increases and federal spending cuts. The silver lining lies amongst US retailers for exceeding the forecast by posting a sales jump of 1.1 percent this February, the largest gain in five (5) months.
Retail sales were supported by pent-up demand for automobiles and the gains in sales of sporting goods, electronics, appliances and building materials. Ford Motor Company and General Motors saw 9.3 percent and 7.2 percent increases, respectively, in sales from a year ago. Costco, the largest US warehouse club chain reported a 39 percent gain. Retailers took on almost 24,000 new jobs this quarter, which certainly affected the increase in spending within certain consumer expenditure categories. In contrast, indicators such as Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, and Target, the second largest discount chain, are off to a very slow start, given the fact that their core consumer has been largely affected by the payroll tax increase and rise in the price of gasoline.
Consumer confidence continues to support the overall explosion of development in South East Baltimore. The Inner Harbor, Fells Point, Harbor East and Canton Crossing areas continue to see increases in housing and retail activity. There is no shortage of great places to live, shop, take in live entertainment and experience casual and fine dining. With one-half billion dollars’ worth of construction nearly complete, Baltimore has become a showcase for mixed-use urban redevelopment. Plans are in the works as we shift to sidewalk development as evidenced by Remington’s 25th Street Station project which saw progress this quarter as the Maryland Court of Appeals struck down the community’s opposition to the City’s granting of zoning approval.
With at least 20 percent of Maryland’s economic output dependent on Federal spending, it remains to be seen what overall effect the sequestering will have on consumer spending. How will families plan to use their “Income Tax Refunds?” Strengthen their savings, pay down their debt or spend their refund on vacations and everyday expenses? What’s on the horizon? Smart phones get smarter; mobile commerce via phone or tablet will try to integrate with offline shopping; retailers will exploit social media to increase brand awareness; rental rates will remain flat, and capital markets will continue to fuel property sales.
|Location||Submarket||Tenant||Amount Leased SF|
|238 Putty Hill Avenue||Towson||Weis Supermarket||56,000 sf|
|5506-5520 Baltimore National Pike||Baltimore County West||Confidential||15,700 sf|
|4700 Belair Road||Baltimore City||Collision Center||15,700 sf|
|Baltimore Inner Harbor, 201 East Pratt Street||City Center||$98,500,000||$713.77||138,000 sf|
|Columbia Shopping Center||Columbia||$21,800,000||$217.17||100,380 sf|
|6581 Eastern Avenue||Baltimore City||$3,800,000||$447.06||8,500 sf|
* All information furnished regarding property for sale, rent, exchange or financing is from sources deemed reliable. No representation is made as to the accuracy thereof and all such information is submitted subject to errors, omissions, or changes in conditions, prior sale, lease or withdrawal without notice. All information should be verified to the satisfaction of the person relying thereon. Portions of the base statistics are from CoStar Property data. Data as of 3/2103.
|Number of Buildings||2,214|
|Market Size (sf)||104,095,738|
|Change Since Last|
|Vacancy W/ Sublet||5.26%|
|Net Absorbtion||306,245 sf|
|Avg. Asking Rent||$19.84 psf|