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2020 Q2 Retail Charleston Report

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COVID-19 accelerates evolution of Charleston retail market

Key Takeaways 

  • Many retailers closed their doors this quarter, however, some had been struggling prior to the COVID-19 loss of business. 
  • Absorption is usually composed of both negative and positive activity; however, this quarter tenants either remained in their space or closed their business and did not move to another space causing 306,546 square feet of negative absorption. 
  • Retailers are altering their shops and restaurants in order to provide a safe environment and positive experience for all consumers.

Providing new options for customers

In an attempt to continue conducting business throughout the pandemic, many restaurants now have opened for indoor business, but with only half of the tables available for seating to customers. In addition, parking lots are often partially blocked off to accommodate outdoor seating. Online platforms have been updated for ease of use and walk-up or drive-thru options have been implemented in order to enhance productiveness.

Retailers are spacing out their indoor merchandise and having sidewalk sales so customers are able to shop in person. However, fitting rooms are mostly unavailable, but return policies have been relaxed in order to raise the customer comfort level of “buying before trying.” Businesses are also limiting the number of shoppers at a given time, setting up sanitizing stations and reinforcing mandatory masks upon entering the establishment in order to provide a safe environment and positive experience for all shoppers. 

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2020 Q2 Retail Charleston Report

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Patrick Nealon

Brokerage Associate


I am a Brokerage Associate and part of the Retail Services Team in the Charleston office. I enjoy working in retail real estate because it is ever-changing with technology, e-commerce and last-mile delivery. I am highly motivated, dedicated, high energy, persistent and bring a fresh perspective to the evolving industry. The most rewarding part of my job is helping people find a space that suits their business. It is exciting to me that you never know who you will meet, who you will run into or what will come your way.

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