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Tourists Are to Thank for Manhattan's Current Retail Boom

Image via <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/yourdon/2714770251/">Ed Yourdon</a>/Flickr
Image via Ed Yourdon/Flickr

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New York residents might want to cut tourists some slack, since a report by Eastern Consolidated explains their Manhattan shopping excursions are responsible for the city's current retail surge. The report, covered in the WSJ, says that there's been a 42% increase in retail sales since 2007, and that a cool $52.4 billion will "pour into the cash registers of clothing stores, electronics shops and other outlets" by the end of the year.

However, one place the money isn't going is to book, hobby, and music stores, with the Borders shutterings partially to blame. Everything else, though, is another story. In the last three years, more stores have opened in the city than in the past ten years, combined.

Manhattan tourism is no novel concept, but the WSJ cites a weak dollar as one of the reasons why lots of international visitors are coming in, and U.S. residents are choosing to vacation in the city as opposed to, say, France. And as the article reminds, the existence of shows like Law & Order, Gossip Girl, and Sex & The City means "many tourists make pilgrimages to visit their favorite locations."

So what does it mean for the city? While the rest of the country's retail jobs declined by 5% between 2007 and 2012, Manhattan's grew 10.2% during that same time period. Barbara Denham, Eastern Consolidated's chief economist, argues: "There's a number of reasons why New York City is doing better than the U.S., but the No. 1 reason is because of our retail industry." Or, as Faith Hope Consolo of Prudential Douglas Elliman Real Estate, puts it, "It's New York. And then it's the rest of the world."
· Tourists Drive Retail Surge in Manhattan [WSJ]