Last week a great article came out in the Virginia Gazette about a relatively new retail project in the James City-Williamsburg area called New Town. In this economic climate of course the project has faced the same challenges as every other retail center large or small, old or new, but in New Town’s case they are surviving better than most despite the conditions.
Each building, section and parcel in New Town is developed independently, a unique situation in the center’s development plan. “One of the most positive things about New Town is a diverse character,” said Randy Casey-Rutland, manager of New Town’s commercial and residential associations. “It’s easy to look at Main Street and see vacant storefronts,” he said. “But when you look at New Town as a whole, there’s a lot of very different types of economic development here.”
Cortney Langley, the reporter, contacted me for some additional insight on the retail conditions in New Town and Williamsburg, overall. When asked about the store closings in the area:
The situation for retailers is much more complicated than lease rates, Tucker said. “Retailers have been hanging on by their fingernails for the first nine months of this year,” he said. “The retailers make a tremendous amount of their profits in the fourth quarter. While it’s not universally true, typically retailers will do as low as 40% to as high as 65% of their gross volume in the last three months of the year.
“If the consumer continues to be huddled in his living room and only buying milk and bread, we are going to see thousands and thousands of stores close.”
Read the rest of the article HERE, and see how New Town is surviving and Williamsburg’s shared as well as distinct challenges.