The Center for an Urban Future’s 2020 “State of the Chains” report found that 1,057 chain stores in the city closed their doors this year, including 135 Metro PCS, 89 Spring, 70 Duane Reades, 51 GNC, 49 Starbucks, and 22 Papyruses.
This number translates to an astonishing 13.3% overall decline in chain-stores, the largest percentage drop since Urban Future’s began its reports 13 years ago.
“If the national chains are scaling back like this, I have to imagine it’s twice as bad for mom-and-pop stores, who don’t have the same ability to weather a storm or get access to financing,” said Urban Future’s Executive Director Jonathan Bowles said.
The city lost 3.7% of chain stores in 2019 and 0.3% in 2018.
Other notable losses include 30 Subways, 30 Baskin–Robbins and 18 Dunkin’ Donuts stores.
A few chains came out stronger this year, despite the city’s totalitarian lockdowns and devastating economic policies.
Popeye’s opened 11 new stores, and Chipotle Mexican Grill opened 6.
Manhattan, which has been under one of the strictest lockdowns in the country, lost 520 chain stores.
Bowles remains optimistic that the end of the lockdowns will bring employees back into their office buildings and a rush of new restaurants and retailers.
“We are going to see a new wave of entrepreneurship,” Bowles said. “People who were fortunate enough not to have businesses at this time, and we also might see some chains go into different parts of the city that were not as hard hit as Manhattan.”
New York City has not backed down from its lockdown policies, however, which will remain a significant obstacle even as the coronavirus poses virtually zero threat to the vast majority of the healthy population.
Office work may never return to normal either, as employees accustom themselves to the ease of a work-from-home routine.