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Retail Closures: Pain or Gain?

Two pieces of national news from late last week on staples of the retail market- banks and grocery stores- could mean opportunities or just more pain for an already bruised sector. You may have seen that Food Lion is closing over a 100 stores across the U.S., and that number includes 12 in the Atlanta area. These closures will release these stores into an already soft market for big-box spaces, and will have significant impact on stores located in these centers or nearby that depend on the grocery traffic. (This news falls more on the "pain" side).

Another national concern-Bank of America- announced that it may close branches across the country later this year as the bank's financials continue to take a beating. Scouting out which branches are scheduled for closure could lead to some excellent opportunities for redevelopment. Due to the lack of strip-mall and power-center development (and their associated outparcels), the market for desirable outparcels has actually held up in many areas. Bank branch sites are often very attractive lots, especially for fast-food and fast-casual restaurant locations because they typically feature easy access and good visibility. Of course, on its mission to swallow the entire banking industry whole, Bank of America acquired a lot of smaller banks in off-prime markets so there may be some chaff in the system. Again, we said there might be an opportunity there.