The recession has busted a number of retail businesses, both nationally and locally. Who can forget Circuit City? The former chief competitor of big-box store Best Buy. It once had a national presence, as well as a huge store in Colorado Springs. Sadly, like a lot of retailers in the city, it has gone the way of the dodo.
The sight of roll-off dumpsters in retail parking lots has become a familiar sight, as work crews toss out old shelves and promotional materials. Inventories are parsed through and boxed up, destined for either the trash bin or a long stay in a dusty warehouse. Colorado Springs’ retail shopping centers have taken a beating recently, as the city’s retail vacancy rate shot up to 12% through the holidays.
The rate was only half that figure just six years ago, before the financial crisis sucker punched the national economy. From that year onward, retailers have struggled to keep consumers coming through their doors. Only the biggest stores, such as Walmart and Target, have been able to whether the storm. In fact, there is even a new Supercenter opening in Colorado Springs, even as many other corporate retailers shy away from opening new locations in the city.
The vacancy problem seems counter-intuitive as media outlets and economists pronounce that we’re past the worst of the recession. But that still hasn’t convinced businesses to invest in new locations, even as consumer spending continues to climb back to pre-2008 levels. The only thing a fervent shopper can do is wait until the economic climate improves just enough to start bringing back the big retailers to the city’s shopping centers. On the plus side, waste disposal companies will see their business pick up as more stores move out.
In the mean time, it appears that the void in the retail landscape will be filled by new discount stores. Everyone loves a discount, so the retailer that can bill itself as a super-saver is king in a land of bankrupt and empty stores.