- June 1, 2017: Vol. 29, Number 6

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Retail faces challenging headwinds in 2017

by Loretta Clodfelter

The 1978 film Dawn of the Dead, and the 2004 remake of the same name, both set their action inside a shopping mall, with plucky heroes setting up camp inside retail centers as zombies gather outside.

The scenario might sound familiar to investors in traditional retail properties in 2017.

One sign of increased distress: More retailers filed for bankruptcy in first quarter 2017 than in all of 2016. Many traditional retailers are struggling from a combination of high leverage levels and the rising popularity of e-commerce, as well as changing consumer tastes and a focus on value-oriented retail.

Cushman & Wakefield reports Inc. is poised to overtake Macy’s as the largest apparel retailer in the United States. (Recent retail bankruptcies have been concentrated in the apparel sector.)

Retail and food sales slowed in March, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, falling 0.2 percent from the previous month to $470.8 billion. Still, retail

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