javascript hit counter

Some of CT’s popular downtown areas are experiencing an ongoing retail boom

When downtown retailers open their doors on Connecticut’s Black Friday, there’s a tiny subset of “shoppers” who find little choice — store owners or expansion-oriented chains looking to open in the most desirable downtown areas, where there are far fewer storefronts are available today.

Commercial real estate websites LoopNet and list about 600 retail and restaurant properties across the state of Connecticut that have vacancies, including some with multiple suites available, roughly doubling the number of actual storefronts. Nationwide, the National Retail Federation counted almost 44,000 retail stores in the last report.

But if you look at the data, opportunities for new stores and restaurants are few and far between in many of downtown Connecticut’s retail districts. And few retailers are letting their leases expire in the run-up to the holidays, and many are setting up longer runs downtown when shoppers kick in this year, as many analysts expect, despite higher prices that could hurt actual spending.

In shopping mecca Greenwich, only one space on Greenwich Avenue has come up since Labor Day, LoopNet has tracked. At the other end of the state, in the village of Mystic, there are no vacancies listed in the tourist town hiking area. And along other roads like Westport, Kent and West Hartford, the retail districts are at near capacity.