Retail Chains Abandon Manhattan: 'It's Unsustainable'
NY Times | August 11, 2020
Five months into the pandemic and New York is feeling the effects. With tourists gone and many office towers surrounding the city empty, the economic damage in New York has surfaced, in many cases, been far worse than anywhere else in the country.
"In Manhattan’s major retail corridors, once packed sidewalks are now nearly empty. A fraction of the usual army of office workers goes into work every day, and many wealthy residents have left the city for second homes," according to an article by the New York Times.
Many stores are still closed, some permanently, while those that are open have very little foot traffic. The article further explains, "in the heart of Manhattan, national chains including J.C. Penney, Kate Spade, Subway and Le Pain Quotidien have shuttered branches for good. Many other large brands, like Victoria’s Secret and the Gap, have kept their high-profile locations closed in Manhattan while reopening in other states."
Even as the city has contained the virus and slowly reopens, there are ominous signs that some national brands are starting to abandon New York. The city is home to many flagship stores, chains, and high-profile restaurants that tolerated astronomical rents (Victoria's Secret flagship store at Herald Square in Manhattan, for example, pays $937,000 per month in rent) and other costs because of New York’s global cachet and the reliable onslaught of tourists and commuters.
New York looks nothing like it did just a few months ago. With traffic down and revenues slashed, is doing business in New York simply unsustainable?