WASHINGTON -- According to CoStar Group Inc., a commercial real estate research company, empty spaces in shopping centers and malls are more frequently being filled by chain restaurants. This is good news for bulk vending operators who in recent years have made some inroads in malls and chain restaurants.
CoStar's report cites Sears Holdings Corp. as a leader in the trend in which restaurants are rushing in to fill spaces left by closing retail giants like Blockbuster and Circuit City. CoStar says the trend is fueled by a lack of new mall openings coupled with expanding restaurant chains. Buffalo Wild Wings, Olive Garden, Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. and LongHorn Steakhouse are among the restaurants moving into vacated spaces.
The report also notes that the expansion of restaurants has been a shot in the arm for ailing retail properties that saw vacancy rates hit a 12-year high of 10.7% in last year's third quarter, and fell to just 10.4% in the latest quarter.