Manhattan’s Retail Rebound Threatened by Surge in Covid Cases
(Bloomberg) -- Manhattan’s retail market shows signs of bouncing back from pandemic lows, but the recent jump in Covid-19 cases threatens to upend that progress.
Retail sales have increased in the past two quarters as more people return to live in the city and tourist traffic grows, according to a report Thursday by the Real Estate Board of New York. That’s resulted in more demand for store space, and tenants are agreeing to longer lease terms.
Still, foot traffic is far below pre-pandemic levels. Rents have fallen from a year earlier in the majority of shopping corridors, with areas such as Herald Square and Fifth Avenue showing steep declines in the past six months. The average asking rent in Times Square slipped to its lowest in more than a decade, REBNY said.
The sudden surge of Covid-19’s omicron variant could erase the recent gains by sending office workers and tourists back home.
A failure to contain the virus “would jeopardize the progress already made, in what has turned out to be a marathon rather than a sprint to recovery,” the trade group said in the report.
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