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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

13 hours ago - World

Maximum pressure campaign escalates with Fakhrizadeh killing

Photo: Fars News Agency via AP

The assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the architect of Iran’s military nuclear program, is a new height in the maximum pressure campaign led by the Trump administration and the Netanyahu government against Iran.

Why it matters: It exceeds the capture of the Iranian nuclear archives by the Mossad, and the sabotage in the advanced centrifuge facility in Natanz.

Scoop: Biden weighs retired General Lloyd Austin for Pentagon chief

Lloyd Austin testifying before Congress in 2015. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Joe Biden is considering retired four-star General Lloyd Austin as his nominee for defense secretary, adding him to a shortlist that includes Jeh Johnson, Tammy Duckworth and Michele Flournoy, two sources with direct knowledge of the decision-making tell Axios.

Why it matters: A nominee for Pentagon chief was noticeably absent when the president-elect rolled out his national security team Tuesday. Flournoy had been widely seen as the likely pick, but Axios is told other factors — race, experience, Biden's comfort level — have come into play.

Updated 15 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: WHO: AstraZeneca vaccine must be evaluated on "more than a press release."
  2. Politics: Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York COVID restrictions.
  3. World: Thailand, Philippines sign deal with AstraZeneca for vaccine.
  4. Economy: Safety nets to disappear in December Black Friday shopping across the U.S., in photosAmazon hires 1,400 workers a day throughout pandemic.
  5. Education: National standardized tests delayed until 2022.