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2020 Q4 Retail Charleston Report

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Charleston gross retail sales rebounding as retailers adopt new business operations

Key Takeaways 

  • Despite a downward spike in retail sales at the start of the pandemic, Charleston gross retail sales have rebounded strongly as businesses adapt business practices to meet consumer needs. 
  • A shift to client-centric operations is prompting retailers to adapt their business lay-outs.
  • As tourism and vacationing resumes, Charleston market activity is expected to pick-up next year.

Client-centric options are leading to adaptive business plans

One thing the pandemic has taught us: food is essential, mobile and can be eaten anywhere, so long as it is available. Therefore, trends are evolving to meet consumers at their comfort level. The major shift this year was from restaurant-centric preferences of service to consumer-centric preferences in an effort to ensure a restaurant’s full menu is accessible to as many consumers as possible. Quick service restaurants (QSRs) choosing to decrease restaurant space began pre-pandemic, around 2016; however, the pandemic furthered the trend of QSRs focusing on leasing or developing space with one or more drive-thru options available. Restaurants that do not already have them are planning to install them, and those that have one are often planning to add more. In addition, many restaurants are opting for a reduced footprint for indoor dining, but allowing planning for larger outdoor seating areas and additional pick-up options in the carry-out portion of the restaurant. Less dine-in space has not only led to several drive-thrus, restaurateurs are getting creative with consumer options for food pick up. Curbside pick-up is popular so consumers do not have to get out of their car in order to pick up their pre-ordered food.  

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2020 Q4 Retail Charleston Report

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Patrick Nealon

Brokerage Associate

Charleston

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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