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Do formula retail regulations actually create a healthy and vibrant retail landscape in San Francisco? That question prompted the city to order a study on the "economic implications of formula retail uses" and "the effects of formula retail uses on community vitality and character." But as time passes without an official result (it's expected to be completed in April), retail brokers have taken matters into their own hands, conducting their own study. The results are surprising: just over 13 percent of all shops in the city are chain stores (although, the SF Examiner reports the number at 11 percent).
"We understand that the purpose of restrictions on formula retail is to preserve what San Francisco is and what it stands for, and we share in that sentiment," Carol Gilbert, a spokesperson from one of the retail brokers behind the study, tells the SF Business TImes. "We also have a mission and goal to protect and promote retail productivity." According to the study, the average vacancy for a healthy retail environment should be around 4.8 percent. Currently, the vacancy rate in the hotly contested Mission nabe is over 15 percent. The retail brokers hope these numbers will dissuade the city from further tightening restrictions against chain stores in SF. As Gilbert explains, it's all in the mix of both large and small that draw shoppers to an area.
· Retail brokers count San Francisco chain stores in bid to defeat new restrictions [The San Francisco Business Times]
· SF planners gaining better understanding of chain stores in city [The San Francisco Examiner]
· Five Things to Know About SF's Formula Retail Policy [Racked SF]