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Market Report

Boston Retail Market Report

3Q 2021

Retail Properties Find Broad Stability in 2021 as New Jobs and Higher Spending Lift Outlook

Retail sector emerges from pandemic shakeup. After a challenging 2020 when the employment base contracted by nearly 10 percent and retail vacancy rose 50 basis points, tenant demand has markedly improved. Through the first six months of 2021 nearly 740,000 square feet of retail space was absorbed, aided by consumer spending that is roughly 20 percent above pre-pandemic levels. Some of the businesses occupying space include grocers and various fitness concepts. At the same time, the interruption of foot traffic pushed some long-beleaguered properties into redevelopment. This shakeup of inventory will ultimately strengthen Boston’s retail landscape longer term, with accelerating household formation likely to bolster consumer spending and retail space demand in the years ahead.

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