New Jersey’s retail sector is doing just fine, according to a new report by Grubb & Ellis, Fairfield, NJ, but some warning flags are being raised. Chief among them is that rising interest rates “could put a dent in retail sales,” according to Stephen Jenco, G&E’s research services manager.

Among other trends: Competition is stiff, and there have been casualties this year, notably Tops Appliance City, Sneaker Stadium, Just for Feet and Aisle Three. But their problems were internal and their vacated sites are being snapped up quickly. “Kohl’s opened a number of new stores in former Caldor locations, and electronics giant Best Buy is planning an entrance into the market,” according to Jenco.

And the home-improvement wars are heating up. Lowe’s is ready to go toe-to-toe with the entrenched Home Depot, and the latter is planning more of its Villager’s Hardware stores.

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