Economy Watch: Fast-Casual Restaurants to Lead Retail Growth

Cushman & Wakefield's first-ever retail and restaurant expansion guide reveals which concepts should thrive and which could struggle going into 2017.
Garrick Brown, Cushman & Wakefield

Garrick Brown, Vice President of Retail Research, Cushman & Wakefield

Led by franchise and fast-casual restaurant chains, North American retail growth into 2017 will be overwhelmingly driven by discount and off-price apparel, food, and service concepts, according to a report by Cushman & Wakefield published in conjunction with the International Council of Shopping Centers. It was released this week at RECon.

The firm’s first-ever North American Retail and Restaurant Expansion Guide tracks the growth plans of about 2,000 national retail and restaurant chains across 22 categories in the U.S. and Canada. The report also provides a glimpse into those chains’ projected growth over the next year and into 2017, and also includes projections for concepts experiencing negative growth that may be closing existing stores or adjusting brick-and-mortar footprints.

Restaurants will remain the strongest single category in terms of overall unit growth across all sectors, with franchise-driven and fast-casual chains like fast-fire pizza and sandwich shops leading the way. Rapid growth in e-commerce will continue to impact the apparel, books/media/toys, consumer electronics, department store and financial services sectors, and generally not for the better.

According to Garrick Brown, vice president of retail research for Cushman & Wakefield and the report’s author, the data in this report was gathered from a mix of sources, including the retail and restaurant chains themselves, the brokers and site selection specialists that represent them, and third-party data sources. The report also consulted published media reports, quarterly reports and public statements made by company executives.