International invasion: Retail's newest tenants


U.S. retailers beware—the British are coming!

But it's not just the Brits. The Italians, French, Spanish and more are also invading the U.S., capitalizing on prime real estate as several homegrown brands shutter stores.

Perhaps most emblematic of the shift is Sears' recent announcement that it will lease out space in seven locations to European retailer Primark, which is opening its first U.S. store in Boston next year. Sears will still retain a significant presence in six of these spots.

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"They're looking at sort of high street real estate and the A malls," said Michael Hirschfeld, senior vice president of retail services at JLL Retail. "There is a good opportunity for them in both of those areas."

According to Hirschfield, one of the biggest shifts over the past few years is the mix of tenants heading to the United States. Once defined primarily by luxury names, mass-market companies such as Uniqlo, H&M and Zara have shifted their attention to the country, in many cases stealing business from domestic firms.

In the teen sector, for instance, H&M has opened 29 U.S. stores in the nine months ended Aug. 31. Aéropostale, on the other hand, which has struggled to compete against fast-fashion names, said on Thursday that it will close 120 stores by the end of 2014, much higher than the 40 or 50 closings it was originally planning. That's in addition to the 125 P.S. By Aéropostale stores already scheduled to close.

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"I think [fast-fashion international retailers] have been eye-opening to many American retailers," Hirschfeld said.

In a new report, JLL ranked the markets that are most attractive for international retailers, based on factors such as forecasted population growth and rent and vacancy levels. The index predominantly favored markets with a strong international presence, such as New York City and Miami.

See below for a breakdown of the markets that are likely to see the largest influx of international retailers moving forward.