Queens loses nearly 200 chain stores, third largest decline in the city

Photo courtesy of Flickr/Mike Mozart

Queens saw an 11 percent drop in chain store locations in 2020, the third largest drop out of all the five boroughs.

The Center for an Urban Future’s 13th annual State of the Chains report found more than 1,000 chain stores across New York City closed either temporarily or permanently over the past year, or nearly one in every seven locations that were open at this time last year.

In Queens, 198 chain stores shut their doors over the past year.

The report shows several Queens ZIP codes lost at least a fifth of the chain stores that were open at this time last year, including the following:

  1. JFK Airport, Jamaica (11430): 28 percent decrease (from 40 to 29 stores)
  2. Astoria (11102): 27 percent decrease (from 15 to 11 stores)
  3. Springfield Gardens (11413): 26 percent decrease (from 31 to 23 stores)
  4. Flushing (11357): 24 percent decrease (from 25 to 19 stores)
  5. Maspeth (11378): 24 percent decrease (from 17 to 13 stores)
  6. Bayside (11360): 23 percent decrease (from 31 to 24 stores)
  7. Far Rockaway (11691): 22 percent decrease (from 18 to 14 stores)
  8. Flushing (11358): 21 percent decrease (from 24 to 19 stores)
  9. Flushing (11355): 20 percent decrease (from 25 to 20 stores)

Twenty retailers experienced a net decline of at least three stores in Queens during the past year, including Metro PCS (with a net decline of 41 stores), Sprint (23), GNC (13), Duane Reade (10), Modell’s (10), CVS (9), Subway (8), Rite Aid (8), Golden Krust (5), Baskin-Robbins (5), M·A·C Cosmetics (5), New York & Co. (5), Au Bon Pain (4), Burger King (4), Dunkin’ (4), Starbucks (4), Victoria’s Secret (3), Tumi (3), AT&T (3) and Mattress Firm (3).

The report found the number of chain stores in the city declined by 13 percent over the last year, with 2 percent closing temporarily and 11 percent not indicating whether closures were permanent.

“This is by far the largest year-over-year decline in chain stores since the Center for an Urban Future began our annual analysis of the city’s national retailers 13 years ago, eclipsing last year’s 3.7 percent drop and the 0.3 percent decline in 2018,” the Center wrote in their report.

This is also the first time the Center includes a “temporary” category, which they attribute to the fact that retailers may be awaiting a COVID-19 vaccine or a better economic climate.

For most chains, store closings were a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic — but a combination of the pandemic and e-commerce prompted many merchandise retailers to close a significant share of their stores.

Every borough experienced a decline of at least 8 percent in the number of chain store locations, with Manhattan accounting for nearly half of the chain stores closing as more than one in six chains (a 17 percent drop), followed by Brooklyn with 11.6, Queens with 11.2, the Bronx with 9 percent and Staten Island with 8.5 percent.

It’s the second consecutive year in which all five boroughs registered declines, but the first year for any borough to see a decline of more than 10 percent. Last year, the sharpest drop was a 4.9 percent decline in Queens, with 91 stores shuttered, according to the Center.

Earlier in the year, Century 21’s multiple location closures, including its only Queens location in Rego Park Center, came as a blow to New Yorkers. The pandemic also caused IKEA to postpone its opening, which was originally set for the summer, with a new date still to be determined.

However, some new chain store locations did open this year, such as Burlington in Long Island City.

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