Retail Market Trends in Columbia, SC – Boring, In a Good Way


July 30, 2008

Recently, a developer remarked that Columbia’s retail market is boring in a good way, which is remarkably true. While Columbia does not see rampant construction and massive jumps in rental rates in the good times, it still has steady, tempered growth even in down times.

During 2007 and the first two quarters of 2008, there has been a bit of a slowdown in new construction; however, development is still strong in emerging growth areas. A majority of the development has consisted of single tenant big box developments and unanchored/junior anchored shadow centers. Possibly due to the opening of four new Wal-Mart Supercenters in 2007, there are currently no nationally anchored grocery store shopping centers under construction.

Because of Columbia’s demographics, a number of value oriented retailers have found the market attractive. Wal-Mart’s expansion in 2007 made it one of the top ten largest private employers in Columbia. While Dunkin Donuts has had a presence in the market for a number of years, they have announced a major expansion in the market, and because of the lower price point of Dunkin Donuts compared to competitors such as Starbucks, they believe that they will do well in this market. Other value oriented retailers that have opened new stores in Columbia include: Cici’s Pizza, Steve & Barry’s, Burlington Coat Factory, Kohl’s, Direct Buy and Little Caesars.


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