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Expand chart
Adapted from CBRE; Chart: Axios Visuals

U.S. store closures are on pace for a record level in 2019 with more than 7,400 already announced this year, and household names like Sears and Victoria’s Secret shutting their doors at malls across the country.

Yes, but: Property broker CBRE says the fire-and-brimstone, death-of-the-mall narratives are exaggerating what's actually happening in the retail and real estate spaces. Certainly, the mall sector is having some problems, but the full picture also includes an overall Q2 gain in demand across all retail formats, and a gradual repositioning of malls as mixed-use projects.

The big picture: CBRE's latest data shows net absorption — a measure of the amount of new space leased to retailers in a quarter versus what was vacated — has been on a clear downturn over the past few years.

  • While net absorption has been falling, the price of rent has been rising. Overall net asking rent increased by 5% year-over-year to $18.01 per square foot, the highest level since Q1 2005 when CBRE began tracking this metric.

What they're saying: "U.S. retail real estate as a whole is healthy, especially grocery anchored centers," CBRE Global President of Retail Anthony Buono tells Axios in an email.

  • "Many established retailers are effectively harnessing online sales to combine with their in-store sales, and many online-only brands now are opening physical stores. Average rent across the whole of U.S. retail real estate has risen for 22 consecutive quarters."

Go deeper: Read Axios' Deep Dive on the future of retail

Go deeper

Thousands without power as "hazardous" winter storm lashes East Coast

Winter view from Charlotte as winter storm Izzy creates dangerous conditions in Charlotte, N.C. on Jan. 16. Photo: Peter Zay/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

A major winter storm was lashing much of the East Coast on Sunday, causing widespread power outages and disrupting travel over the holiday weekend.

The big picture: Heavy snow and ice accumulations are "likely to produce hazardous travel," downed trees and more power outages from the Mid-South to the Northeast, per the National Weather Service. Some parts of the U.S. can expect to see up to a foot of snow through Monday.

Updated 1 hour ago - Science

Volcanic eruption in Tonga caused "significant" damage

This satellite image of the eruption on Jan. 15 taken by Himawari-8, a Japanese weather satellite operated by Japan Meteorological Agency and released by National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT). Photo: NICT via AP

Significant damage has been reported in Tonga following an undersea volcanic eruption on Saturday, which covered the Pacific nation in ash and cut off communication lines.

Driving the news: The eruption triggered tsunami warnings across Tonga's islands and in other regions, including the West Coast of the U.S. and New Zealand.

North Korea launches 4th suspected missile test this month

A news broadcast in Seoul, South Korea, of an apparent North Korean missile test on Monday morning local time. Photo: Jung Yeon-je/AFP via Getty Images

North Korea's military fired "two suspected short-range ballistic missiles" eastward from Pyongyang on Monday morning local time, per South Korean and Japanese officials.

Why it matters: The fourth such launch since Jan. 5 comes days after North Korea's military warned of "stronger" action if the U.S. moved to have more sanctions imposed on the country.