Dallas-Fort Worth is better prepared to withstand the current economic downturn, with respect to the announced impending closures of several major retail stores, than perhaps any other major metro area in the country, according to a leading retail industry source.
“One positive for the market is that we entered the pandemic with one of the highest occupancies on record for DFW,” said Ian Pierce, Vice President of Communications for Weitzman. “In fact, this is the highest occupancy the market has ever seen prior to a downturn.”
According to Weitzman’s latest report on the state of the retail market in DFW, 93% of all retail space in the region was occupied at the end of 2019, the highest recorded occupancy rate since 1981.
A handful of high-profile, locally-based retailers have filed for bankruptcy protection in recent weeks – J.C. Penney, Tuesday Morning, and Neiman Marcus – and each has announced plans to close stores. J.C. Penney and Tuesday morning plan to close hundreds of stores across the country, including at least some in North Texas.
Several other national retailers with familiar names – J. Crew, Bath & Body Works, Victoria’s Secret, and Nordstrom – have also announced plans to close locations across the country. Nordstrom intends to close 16 stores nationally, including one at the Northeast Mall in Fort Worth.
“There are a few things about this cycle that are unprecedented. In previous cycles, the market would typically decline for months before the downturn hit. In this one, it was like a light was turned off. It happened practically overnight,” Pierce said about the events of the previous weeks.