Rapid population growth in San Bernardino County has fueled retail expansion in the county, according to a new report.
Market monitoring CBRE said the region saw another 105,410 square feet of shops in the first quarter of 2022 and nearly 1.2 million squares feet of new construction, led by the expansion of supermarkets and the toy and craft industries.
Big players are growing
CBRE Vice President Ryan Gast said a slew of retailers — including Sprout’s, Five Below, Grocery Outlet, Aldi, Popeye’s, Dutch Bros, Farmer Boys and Dave’s Hot Chicken — are expanding their presence in County San Bernardino.
And they are exploiting new ways to reach customers.
“Innovation is another driver in the region,” he said. “Retailers have continued to innovate to attract foot traffic by partnering with e-commerce companies through branded kiosks or in department stores.”
Farmer Boys recently held a grand opening for its second Chino restaurant on Kimball Avenue, and German discount grocer Aldi has 11 supermarkets in San Bernardino County, including stores in Redlands, San Bernardino, Rialto, Rancho Cucamonga, Fontana, Chino and Upland with more planned.
“Aldi now has more than 2,200 stores in 38 states, and plans to continue opening more stores in Arizona and California,” said Tom Cindel, Aldi Group Operations and Logistics Director for Moreno Valley. “As neighborhoods and communities evolve, we adapt.”
Demand for grocery-anchored centers, quick-service restaurants, drive-thru and independent outlets has increased the average asking rental rate for commercial and retail properties, creating opportunities for new growth in this sector, reported CBRE.
Retail sales in San Bernardino County totaled $52.3 billion in 2021, the company said, and that’s expected to reach $55.5 billion in 2022.
Recent studies show a dramatic migration of residents of Los Angeles and Orange counties to the Inland Empire. The push points to recently released census data that cites the Inland Empire as the region with the fifth fastest growing population among U.S. metropolitan areas in the 12 months ended July 31, 2021. The two-county region added 47,601 people during that time, CBRE said.
Data from the US Census Bureau show that San Bernardino County added more than 13,000 residents between April 1, 2020 and July 1, 2021, and nearly 160,000 from April 1, 2010.
Curt Hagman, chairman of the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors, said a growing number of young families and single residents are drawn to the county’s “affordable quality of life.”
“The region is changing, attracting more planned communities and commercial real estate investment,” Hagman said in a statement. “If you’re a retailer or restaurant owner looking for an area that will allow you to significantly grow your brand, you need to look in San Bernardino County.”
Job growth is also supporting more retail investment and expansion in San Bernardino County. The county’s unemployment rate fell to 4.3% before the pandemic in March 2022, with payrolls rising nearly 10,000 in the month to a record 976,000, according to the Labor Development Council. -workers of San Bernardino County.
Some of this employment is attributed to the continued growth of the region’s supply chain industry and the resurgence of hospitality-related businesses.
Topgolf Entertainment Center recently debuted, opening its first Southern California location in the city of Ontario. The nearly 600,000-square-foot driving range — the company’s 75th global location — sits near the corner of Archibald Avenue and Fourth Street.
The three-story facility features 102 air-conditioned batting bays and a full-service restaurant and bar. It is expected to create 400 jobs and $625,000 in annual revenue for the county’s park system during its 20-year tenure on the land, county officials said.
CBRE said the retail sector has felt the combined impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, labor shortages, supply chain disruptions and rising fuel prices. following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
But there is an advantage.
“Consumer demand is expected to remain elevated this year, driven by excess savings, particularly among wealthier households, and a very strong labor market,” CBRE said.
Writer Beau Yarbrough contributed to this report.