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Chain Stores Take a Hit in NYC, Including on the Lower East Side

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Each year we’re interested to read the Center for an Urban Future’s report, State of the Chains. Mostly, our readers are not fans of chain stores; new locations of national retailers are seen as another sign that the Lower East Side is losing its unique character and becoming Anywhere, USA. This year. however, the report tells the story of the pandemic. We all know small mom-and-pop stores have been devastated. The report shows that chains aren’t holding up much better.

According to the researchers, more than 1,000 chain stores, or 1 in every 7 location operating a year ago, have closed either temporarily or for good (most closures were permanent):

Overall, the number of chain stores in New York City declined by 13.3 percent—with 2.0 percent closing temporarily and 11.3 percent not in- dicating whether the closures are permanent or temporary. This is by far the largest year- over-year decline in chain stores since the Center for an Urban Future began our annual analysis of the city’s national retailers thirteen years ago, eclipsing last year’s 3.7 percent drop and the 0.3 percent decline in 2018.




On the Lower East Side and Chinatown (zip code 10002), 8 our of 51 chain store locations closed.  That’s a drop of 16%. The Lower East Side has historically had fewer chains than many other neighborhoods. Take the East Village, zip code 10003, for example. A year ago, the neighborhood had 171 chain locations. It’s now fallen to 140, an 18% drop.

On the LES, at least one chain location did open, a Popeye’s fried chicken restaurant. The report noted that Popeye’s was one of the few companies in expansion mode in New York during the past 12 months. Popeye’s added 11 stores across the city.

If you would like to read the full report, click here.

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