(RETAIL DIVE) – The COVID-19 pandemic turned malls and offices into some of the quietest corners of the U.S. last year. The question is how much activity will return now that lockdowns have eased and vaccinations are increasing.
Office occupancy matters a great deal to retailers because big, full office buildings release throngs of people into shopping areas before, during and after the workday. There's some indication that a full return to downtown office quarters is unlikely, as many businesses have realized they can function well with much of their workforce at home.
"Both office and retail are going through a structural change that will continue to cause many firms to look closely at their respective footprints," LaSalvia said. "As their leases expire, it is likely some will move or downsize, putting further downward pressure on rents and vacancy rates through this year and into 2022."
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