By Nathaniel Meyersohn | CNN
Bed Bath & Beyond is stripping down its big blue signs, clearing out aisles of linens and closing 400 stores as it tries to stave off bankruptcy.
Already, chains including TJ Maxx, HomeGoods and Ross have scooped up the vacant stores. Burlington, Five Below, Nordstrom Rack and budget gym Planet Fitness may also fill up the spaces, say retail landlords and real estate analysts.
Bed Bath & Beyond’s real estate is a precious, scarce resource for retailers, gyms and anyone else who needs ample space. There’s been little new retail development since the 2008 financial crisis and the rise of online shopping, and vacancy rates are at historic lows.
“E-commerce scared a lot of people off from building retail,” said Brandon Isner, the head of retail research at CBRE, a commercial real estate firm. “A lot of great real estate is going to come available into a market where there’s been no vacancies. It will not take long for retailers to occupy those spaces.”
Particularly in a tight commercial real estate market, bad news for one brand means opportunity for another.