Commercial retail down in some areas, up in others

Retail stores that cater to young buyers have struggled in 2013.

It's been a tricky year for the commercial retail market.

Same-store sales declined nationwide in September for retail clothing stores like American Apparel, The Buckle and Zumiez, according to a recent report from Reuters. With just weeks before the start of the holiday shopping season, it's been a tough market so far this year for retail companies that thrive on young shoppers.

One retail sector that seems to be flourishing, however, is the wholesale and discount market.

Costco Wholesale, a warehouse chain that promotes savings for shoppers through a large purchase quantity, reported that same-store sales nationwide topped Wall Street expectations, according to Reuters.

Stein Mart, a discount-style department store, reported a 5 percent increase in sales, while Fred's Inc., a discount merchandiser, also reported better-than-expected gains.

Retail expected to help city in Kansas
There is a forecast for growth in the retail sector in Wichita, Kan., according to the NAI Martens 2014 Forecast, as cited by The Wichita Eagle.

Projections, though tempered, show potential growth for retail and medical offices in the city.

The projections from NAI Martens show that both retail occupancy and rental rates are starting to rise, but it might be small health care providers that fuel the commercial sector more than anything.
The Wichita Eagle reported that small health care providers are showing demand in the market and should fuel the office sector more than any other industry.

The NAI Martens forecast anticipates small specialty medical services to be at the forefront for commercial office space in Wichita. Medical services will look for small spaces in the area to focus on convenience and access for its patients, according to the report.

Those specialty services include dental, chiropractic, urgent care and after-hours clinics.

Still, the growth should be slow, according to Tom Johnson, president of NAI Martens.

"Neither one of these I would call exceptional," Johnson told The Wichita Eagle. "There are things happening, but it's not going to be dynamic."

Johnson's company predicts that occupancy and rental rates will continue to climb in 2014. The current average retail rent in Wichita for Class A space is $15 per square foot. NAI Martens noted that some newer spaces are charging tenants roughly $25 per square foot.

For commercial office space in the Wichita area, the average Class A space is going for more than $20 a square foot.

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