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As Old Legacy Retailers Shutter, New Entrants Help Fuel Retail's Comeback

As Toys R UsSearsAbercrombie & FitchK-Mart and Sam’s Club continue to downsize, leaving gaping holes and vacant storefronts in malls and retail centers, new companies, international retailers and e-tailers are coming in to fill those spots with a new strategy that blends e-commerce and a physical storefront, according to several reports.

A Toys R Us in Fairfax, Va.'s Fair Lakes Shopping Center

Several major mall and retail landlords are bullish on the trend, according to CNBC.

CNBC said Ross Stores and Ulta Beauty are looking to open new locations. Dick's Sporting Goods and the parent company of TJ Maxx are looking to create offshoots like Field & Stream and HomeSense

Online retail company Warby Parker and Untuckit are looking for physical storefronts, and international companies Uniqlo and Primark are expanding in the U.S.

The CEO of DDR Group, which owns and operates shopping centers across the U.S., told CNBC the company has prospective tenants lined up to replace the commercial space vacated by Toys R Us. The toy chain went bankrupt in 2017 and closed about 800 of its stores last month.

“We're actively negotiating deals right now with at least 20 major, national, healthy companies ranging from off-price [brands] — like BurlingtonRoss, the TJX brands — all the way over to specialty grocers like Lucky's and Sprouts," DDR Corp. CEO David Lukes said.

Ross Dress for Less in El Cerrito, Calif., opened in mid-July.

Kimco CEO Conor Flynn echoed that. Kimco, which had 22 vacant Toys R Us stores in its portfolio following the retailer's bankruptcy, has filled seven of those spaces, according to CNBC. 

The retail bounce back comes as no surprise.

Throughout the recent International Council of Shopping Centers' RECon conference in Las Vegas, experts from JLL, CBRE and other firms were bullish on the future of retail.

Data shows that sales from brick-and-mortar stores are increasing year over year.

CBRE Americas Head of Research Spencer Levy told a crowd of hundreds at a luncheon in Las Vegas that the death of brick-and-mortar retail is the most oversold story he has ever seen in his career.

As consumers' shopping preferences continue to shift, retail companies are adapting to the changing consumer base in a number of ways: companies are providing customers with bulk items without a membership, fast door-to-door delivery, discounted clothes and furnishing and excellent customer service, according to reports.