This article was written for our sponsor, CBRE | Raleigh

Everyone knows a shocking headline draws eyes (and clicks). So, whether it’s in the midst of online shopping expansion brought on by the pandemic or the precipice of a historic recession, headlines around the country have asked, with big implication, “Is retail dead?”

When asked a similar question, Charlie Coyne, director of retail services for CBRE | Raleigh said, “The reality of retail currently in the Triangle? It is as strong as it’s ever been. Consumer demand is high with vacancy on the path to record lows.”

Tiffany Barrier, senior vice president of retail services at CBRE | Raleigh adds, “The retail market has been exciting. We’ve seen numerous top-tier developers take interest in our market who now have major projects under planning or under construction. We’ve also seen new retailers and restaurants enter the market that are coming from larger markets such as New York or DC that are really excited about the Triangle and all it has to offer.”

Several factors are driving this growth including the region’s strong job market, affordable cost of living and favorable leasing conditions.

The Triangle has become a biotech hub and continues to draw the attention of worldwide corporations looking for a place to expand. Job growth in life sciences outpaces the local, available talent. This means that more people move to the Triangle market every day, and those people not only bring dollars, but they bring curiosity and a desire to interact with their new community.

Another factor driving growth within the Triangle is the region’s relatively low cost of living to other major metros, which makes it an attractive place to do business. While vacancy rates across the Triangle remain low in the midst of increased retailer demand, the influx of a highly educated population with disposable income has created an excellent opportunity for retailers and restaurants to capitalize on those factors and the region’s favorable leasing conditions compared to similarly sized markets. In addition, these conditions have made it easier for companies to open new stores or expand existing ones. Even with recent retail rent growth, retail rents in the Triangle remain low compared to larger “gateway” cities.  Additionally, the Triangle’s healthy supply of new retail focused mixed-use developments provide opportunities for retailers and restaurants to grow.

The combination of these factors has resulted in retail resiliency in the Triangle, more so it has led to growth and optimism which inspires business confidence.

Not only, as Barrier mentioned, are more established businesses seeking to relocate or expand with a location in the Triangle, but the increased capital and favorable business conditions are encouraging local entrepreneurs to follow their dream and become a franchisee or business owner. In fact, a June 2022 study by LendingTree reported that Raleigh ranks 6th nationally in franchises, and the market is continuing to expand.


With growth, comes competition. To enter a competitive market, a business wants to begin with a solid strategy. That’s where CBRE | Raleigh steps in.

In a 2021 WRAL TechWire article, Senior Managing Director Tom Fritsch said, “When CBRE had an office in downtown Raleigh back in 2002, there wasn’t much residential or retail real estate nearby. If you look at it now, it’s night and day.”

CBRE | Raleigh, a local entity of the global CBRE, has worked in the Triangle market through a rise in population from 900,000 in 2001 to roughly 2.2 million today. They understand the unique challenges and opportunities that come with such a quickly growing market. In addition, they have first-hand, local knowledge of what makes a retail business succeed in the Triangle, including understanding of how residents, both native and new, seem to respond to.

However, they don’t just rely on their experience, they employ what they call an “unmatched” data analytics program, allowing their clients to research trends, market lines and specific consumer data tailored to their needs.

“We can implement our local knowledge and our professional knowledge to serve our clients, but we also have the analytics to back it up with demographic and data points that are specific to your type of business and your success,” Barrier said.

CBRE | Raleigh is passionate about ensuring businesses can set their best foot forward in this quickly evolving market. Their goal is to help clients navigate the challenges and opportunities of the retail industry in the Triangle so that business and retail can continue to grow and thrive. They create and release easily accessible market reports on the retail market so that everyone can see what they already know. In the Triangle, retail is not only alive, but thriving.

This article was written for our sponsor, CBRE | Raleigh