Once again, brick-and-mortar retail has risen from the ashes. Many predicted that it wouldn’t happen. They thought the pandemic had upended in-person shopping and consumers would permanently favor buying goods online. In the early days following the pandemic, that theory has proven false. Instead, consumers have returned to physical stores with a fury—and demand is so strong, retailers are struggling to keep up.

Last year, retail sales totaled a staggering $5 trillion, growing more than 17% from 2020, according to data from the U.S. Department of Commerce, and e-commerce sales made up 13.2% of the total. Online shopping decreased nominally year-over-year, illustrating that shoppers returned to physical stores as the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus subsided. While e-commerce accounted for a significant chunk of total retail spending, shoppers still spent an overwhelming majority of retail dollars offline.

The momentum has kept pace this year. “People seem more willing to go to a shop and spend, to throw parties and buy goods, and continue to spend increased time at our shopping venues,” says Sandy Sigal, president and CEO of NewMark Merrill Companies, a retail investor and developer.

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Kelsi Maree Borland

Kelsi Maree Borland is a freelance journalist and magazine writer based in Los Angeles, California. For more than 5 years, she has extensively reported on the commercial real estate industry, covering major deals across all commercial asset classes, investment strategy and capital markets trends, market commentary, economic trends and new technologies disrupting and revolutionizing the industry. Her work appears daily on GlobeSt.com and regularly in Real Estate Forum Magazine. As a magazine writer, she covers lifestyle and travel trends. Her work has appeared in Angeleno, Los Angeles Magazine, Travel and Leisure and more.

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