SFCED | San Francisco Center for Economic Development

Retail: Shoppers Taking Shackles Off

Bay Area consumers have finally loosened the grip on their purse strings, and the 2013 retail forecast is remarkably upbeat.

“The economy here is truly booming,” said Helen Bulwik of retail consultancy New Market Solutions. “We have more retail in the Bay Area than anywhere else in the country.”

The retail market is expected to continue trending upwards throughout next year, especially in San Francisco, where the average annual employment growth rate — at a healthy 2.6 percent — is projected to outperform much of the rest of the country. “With more employment comes higher incomes and, as a result, increased spending on retail,” Bulwik added.

Last year the market was driven by an 8.6 percent jump in retail spending, which was slightly better than the national rate of 8.1 percent, and is expected to grow at a steady pace through this year.

The San Francisco metro area also boasted the lowest retail vacancy rates in the country. Vacancies in 2012 trickled down to 3.1 percent in the second half of the year and are projected to drop below 2 percent in 2013, according to real estate investment research firm Marcus & Millichap.

Read more: San Francisco Business Times Retail: Shoppers taking shackles off – San Francisco Business Times