The high-end residential real estate in the Town of Palm Beach market has been strong this year. However, some members of its retail community have felt the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Even before shoppers were driven indoors by stay-at-home orders, brick and mortar stores with high overhead have struggled to compete with the online marketplace. Given the recent changes in this industry, what is happening with the Palm Beach County commercial retail real estate market?
Palm Beach County Retail Shops
Palm Beach County is known to be one of the most affluent and fashionable destinations in the country. The retail stores in the Town of Palm Beach cater to residents and visitors who prefer to shop for exclusive brands of the highest quality. Shopping destinations such as The Royal Poinciana Plaza and Worth Avenue provide those with discerning tastes, a selection of stores offering the finest in clothing, accessories, shoes, luggage, stationery, cosmetics, and more. Palm Beach County residents can also find traditional shops in the area. In Palm Beach Gardens, The Gardens Mall offers customers a blend of conventional favorite stores as well as high-end options. For instance, Gardens shoppers can peruse Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s for their everyday clothing and household needs and also find high-end stores like LOUIS VUITTON.
The Current State of the Palm Beach Real Estate Market
The outbreak of COVID-19 and March shelter-in-place order left many retailers in the Town of Palm Beach in the position of having to lead strongly online or suffer a lack of retail sales. Like area restaurant owners, some clothing retailers have maintained their business by quickly adapting to online and curbside service and serving their clientele’s current lifestyle needs. Those Town of Palm Beach retailers without an online presence experienced significant losses.
According to a recent report, a review of taxable sales between April and May of this year and those from the same time in 2019 showed that apparel and shoe sales were down in Palm Beach County by more than fifty percent. Worth Avenue reflects the state of things for some retailers as numerous storefronts reportedly become available during the pandemic. According to one report, there were “23 vacancies on Worth Avenue and six at The Royal Poinciana Plaza.” Some business owners are opting to wait and reopen when economic conditions improve while others have chosen to relocate. However, high rents and lower retail traffic have forced others to close their doors. Titans of the industry have been impacted as well. Famous luxury retailer Neiman Marcus closed its Worth Avenue store in mid-Sept. Additionally, renowned retail brands Brooks Brothers Michael Kors, Jimmy Choo, and Socapri will also permanently close this year.
Retail Growth Continues in Palm Beach County
While the pandemic may have negatively impacted some Palm Beach County retailers, there have also been developments in the retail real estate market. Amazon is opening a new retail location inside the Gardens Mall in January 2021. Further, $23 million was reportedly recently allocated for the Restart Business Grants Program to assist Palm Beach County business owners who had to close because of the coronavirus pandemic. These may be positive signs for the future of the retail real estate market as well.
David E. Klein, Esq. and Guy Rabideau, Esq. are Florida Bar Board-Certified Real Estate Attorneys with the experience you need for all aspects of your Palm Beach County real estate transaction. We have the expertise and local knowledge you need to ensure that your interests are protected during every stage of the process. Contact Rabideau Klein today to discuss your real estate legal needs.