Every NYC borough saw a decline in chain stores over the past year

Nearly 250 chain stores in New York City have closed in the last year, the second-largest decrease since the pandemic began in 2020. The Center for an Urban Future (CUF) on Tuesday released its annual “State of the Chains” report, which found a 3.1 percent decrease in the number of chain stores across the five boroughs over the past year. This year’s decline breaks a two-year streak of moderate growth of NYC chain stores.

Image courtesy of the Center for an Urban Future

The number of remaining stores as of November is still 13.8 percent less, or 1,097 fewer stores than the city had in late 2019. More than 50 percent of the stores included in CUF’s 2019 State of the Chains report now have fewer locations in the city than they did before the pandemic, with 11.2 percent no longer having any stores in NYC.

All five boroughs are at least 5 percent below their pre-pandemic chain store levels, with Manhattan’s loss of retailers from 2019 to 2023 being the largest. Manhattan has 18.3 percent, fewer chain stores than it did in 2019, Brooklyn has 10.9 percent fewer, Queens 11.3 percent, and the Bronx at 13.8 percent. Staten Island, which is still down 5.5 percent compared to 2019, is the closest to reaching pre-pandemic levels.

“Our 2023 ‘State of the Chains; report underscores the challenges that many national retailers are facing in New York, including hybrid work and the growth of e-commerce, and suggests that some of the changes we’ve seen to the retail market in recent years may be here to stay,” Jonathan Bowles, executive director of the CUF, said.

“After two years of modest growth, we saw chain store closures across the five boroughs, with most national retailers not coming close to reaching their pre-pandemic levels.”

The Bronx experienced the largest decline in chain stores in 2023 with a loss of 4.4 percent (41 stores). Queens experienced a 3.3 percent decrease (59 stores), Manhattan saw a decrease of 2.7 percent (84 stores), Staten Island saw a 3.1 percent decrease (15 stores), and Brooklyn had a 2.9 percent decrease (50 stores).

Over the last year, 116 city zip codes experienced a decline in chain stores, which is more than three times as many as the 32 zip codes that experienced an increase. The zip codes that had the most losses include 11201 in Brooklyn Heights and Downtown Brooklyn (13 stores), 10001 in Hudson Yards and Midtown West (13 stores), and 10012 in Soho and Greenwich Village (10 stores).

Image courtesy of the Center for an Urban Future

This year, cell phone stores and pharmacies made up the majority of losses. T-Mobile led the city in number of closed branches, with 62 stores having been shuttered over the last year. Metro by T-Mobile closed 26 stores, while AT&T closed 18 stores, and Verizon Wireless closed nine stores. Rite Aid closed more than half of their NYC stores, or 55 stores in total, while Duane Reade closed 16 stores and CVS closed four stores.

Dunkin’ still holds the title of having the most stores in the five boroughs, with a whopping 619 outposts. While the coffee giant experienced a loss of only one store in the five boroughs this year, it still has fewer locations than it did in 2019. Starbucks took the number two spot as the second-largest chain in NYC for the second year in a row, increasing its number of stores from 316 to 322. Metro by T-Mobile is still in third place with 269 locations.

Other retailers in the top ten include Subway (loss of 39 stores since 2022), Duane Reade (loss of 16 stores), McDonald’s (loss of six stores), Baskin-Robbins (gained one store), T-Mobile (loss of 62 stores), CVS (loss of four stores), and Popeye’s (gained seven stores).

You can read CUF’s entire 2023 State of the Chains report here.


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