The Retail Market
Market vacancy was 9.7 percent at year-end 2020, saw a pandemic fueled increase to 11.6 percent at mid-year, then gained almost all of it back in the second half of the year… ending the year at 10.1 percent. While industrial, apartments and the single-family home markets were capturing everyone’s attention, retail has had a strong year flying under the radar. Yes, there are still pockets of pain – theaters, boutiques, experiential retail – but most retailers are back in a big way. And the reasons are rather obvious, pent-up demand from the pandemic, personal debt at historic low levels, and consumers flush with cash (The Wall Street Journal put the number at $2.3 trillion, the additional money Americans have now compared to before the pandemic). Per the post-Christmas Mastercard SpendingPulse report, holiday sales increased nearly 11 percent over 2019. Almost all retailers show a big jump in sales over 2020 and most are significantly ahead of 2019 pre-pandemic sales.
Keep in mind that our economy was pretty good, and retail was pretty good before we shut it down for the pandemic. Then we turned on the spigot, by our count Oklahoma received $3.8 billion of PPP funding and $3.0 billion in ARPA funds. This doesn’t count the billions of dollars in direct payments to Oklahomans and the enhanced unemployment benefits. This background is needed to understand what is about to happen in 2022... Read More