Chicago Retail Market Report
Retail Fundamentals Hold Steady as Chicago’s Economy Continues to Recover
Loosening restrictions aid retail demand. Chicago’s retail sector continues to recover following a temporary disruption caused by the pandemic. A decrease in unemployment coupled with the added boost of stimulus checks contributed to a 22 percent yearly increase in retail sales in June. Greater consumer spending in turn lifted demand for retail space over the past three quarters, boosting annual absorption to its highest level in three years. The rebound in demand has helped keep vacancy relatively flat, only increasing 10 basis points since the end of 2019. The state of Illinois entered Phase 5 of its reopening plan in the middle of June, reopening the economy without capacity limits. Barring any setbacks from COVID-19 variants, the return of conventions, festivals and large events will generate foot traffic, which will ultimately increase retail spending in the market.