Chain stores increase foothold in Brooklyn, study finds

Center for an Urban Future looked at national retailers in borough

December 29, 2017 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
This Dunkin’ Donuts on 18th Avenue in Bensonhurst, is one of 139 in Brooklyn, according to the Center for an Urban Future. Eagle photo by Paula Katinas

Brooklyn saw the largest growth of national chain stores of any of the city’s five boroughs in 2017, according to a study released last week by the nonprofit think tank Center for an Urban Future.

The number of national retail stores in Brooklyn increased by 3.1 percent between 2016 and 2017, the study found. By contrast, Manhattan saw only a 0.9 percent increase during that same time period.

The Center for an Urban Future published its findings on Dec. 28 in a study called “State of the Chains.”

The number of national chains doing business in Brooklyn increased from 1,540 stores in 2016 to 1,587 in 2017.

But the numbers have been ticking steadily upward for four years, the study found. The number of chain stores populating the borough has increased by at least 2 percent each year since 2013.

The nationwide retailers that expanded in Brooklyn in 2017 included MetroPCS, which opened 27 new stores and now has 138, second only to Dunkin’ Donuts, which boasts 139 locations here. T-Mobile opened six stores in 2017, while CVS opened two new locations.

Several national retailers reduced their footprints in Brooklyn in 2017, however, including Duane Reade/Walgreens, which closed three of its locations and now has 51; Baskin-Robbins, which shut three stores and now has 54; and Rite Aid, which closed two locations and reduced its total number of stores to 52 locations.

The study found that Dunkin’ Donuts is the largest national retailer in New York City with 612 stores citywide.

News for those who live, work and play in Brooklyn and beyond

Other chains with large imprints on New York City streets are: MetroPCS (445 stores), Subway (433 stores), Starbucks (317 stores), T-Mobile (236 stores), Baskin-Robbins (221), McDonald’s (215), Duane Reade/Walgreens (260), Rite Aid (179) and CVS (149).

“Though this is the ninth consecutive year with a net increase in national chain stores across the five boroughs, the growth was limited to a relatively small number of retailers,” Christian Gonzalez-Rivera of the Center for an Urban Future wrote in the report.

The researchers found that large chain stores, just like small mom and pop businesses, have had their hands full dealing with fierce online competition.

“In a year in which the challenges facing brick-and-mortar retail have burst into view, this report finds that New York’s national chains are not immune to the pressure. Although food establishments continue to show strong growth, retailers that compete most directly with online outlets, such as shoe and electronics stores, have experienced significant contractions. Overall, a fifth of all national retailers in the city closed stores in the past year, and only one-in-seven retailers on our list increased their footprint; the smallest share since we began keeping track a decade ago,” Gonzalez-Rivera wrote in “State of the Chains.”

The comprehensive report also analyzed how the presence of chain stores in New York City has changed over the past 10 years.


Among the more intriguing findings:

  • The city now has 952 chain coffee shops, 65 percent more than a decade ago.

  • The number of fast-food restaurant chains grew by 14 percent, from 1,107 to 1,261 eateries.

  • The number of bakeries owned by chains has more than tripled over the past decade, from 55 to 161.

  • Ice cream chain stores decreased by 17 percent, from 376 in 2008 to 311 in 2017.

  • Mobile phone service chains added 621 locations in the past several years, from 233 stores in 2008 to 854 in 2017.

  • Office supply chain stores fell from 63 a decade ago to 47 today.

To read the full report, visit:


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