New York City has lost 781 chain stores – including Duane Reade – since 2019

The foray of chain stores — often bringing mom-and-pop operations to a halt — has slowed to a crawl in the Big Apple this year and is down about 10% since the pandemic, according to a new report.

Five of the city’s 25 best chains have closed 78 outposts, according to the Center for the Urban Future’s annual “State of the Chains” report released on Wednesday.

Those underestimating their ubiquitous presence in the city were Metro led by T-Mobile, Duane Reade, Subway, 7-Eleven, and Pret-A-Manger.

Overall, the number of the city’s top 25 chains anemic increased by 0.3% — to 7,299 this year from 7,279 in 2021, according to the report.

When compared to pre-pandemic levels, there were 781 stores, or 9.8%, fewer chain stores in the city in 2022 than in 2019. The survey defines a retail chain as having two stores in the city and one location outside of the Big Apple.

“Retailers here are treading water even as the rest of the national economy rolls back into 2022,” Jonathan Bowles, the agency’s executive director, told The Post.

New York City has lost 781 chain stores since 2019.
nycfuture.org

Retail chain closures were the worst in Manhattan, which saw a 14.4% decline, or 427, since 2019 — largely because of the work-from-home trend that has hit Midtown especially hard.

On the other hand, Brooklyn saw the largest increase in one year, adding 33 stores for a 2.1% increase, while other boroughs saw little or no growth, according to the survey.

Even the city’s biggest retailer of the past 15 years — Dunkin’, with 620 stores — opened just five stores in 2022. The donut chain operated at 636 locations in 2019.

Five of New York City's top 25 chains—including Duane Reade—closed 78 outposts.
Five of New York City’s top 25 chains—including Duane Reade—closed 78 outposts.
William Farrington

Starbucks jumped to a distant second-largest chain, opening six stores with 316 total this year, or 35 fewer than in 2019. The Seattle-based coffee giant took second place because Metro from T-Mobile shrank by 16 stores at 295. Citywide location.

Duane Reade and Rite Aid, targets of the city’s shoplifting crime wave, have closed 107 locations combined since the pandemic. Online shopping has also contributed to their shrinking numbers, Bowles said. Only CVS has increased its footprint, adding seven pharmacies since 2019.

Drugstore chains have been shrinking steadily since before the pandemic, Bowles added, pointing to 2011 when Duane Reade and Walgreens operated 324 stores as a turning point in their growth. Bowles said Rite Aid peaked in 2014 with 200 stores and has steadily decreased to 109 stores today.

The number of chain stores by town is from 2022 and 20121.
Brooklyn gained 33 new chain store locations — the largest one-year increase of all boroughs.
nycfuture.org

But it is not all doom and gloom.

Food chains are the healthiest retailers, adding more stores than any other sector, as they have in years past.

Chipotle opened 10 new stores to reach 105 locations, Wingstop added nine stores for a total of 28 restaurants, and Taco Bell opened seven new stores to bring its total to 75.

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