The Tulsa retail market continued to feel the effects of the pandemic in the second half of the year. Several big box retailers closed their doors including Stein Mart and Stage Stores, causing over 200,000 sq. ft. of retail space to become vacant since July.
COVID-19 has altered and accelerated many retail trends in 2020. Having an online presence has been increasingly important this year with ecommerce being supercharged by the pandemic. Drive-thru restaurants have also had an advantage this year as municipal mandates have limited indoor dining.
The most important stimulus tool is the vaccines that are now being deployed. They will not prevent a difficult winter but should allow for some normalization of activity by mid-Q2 2021.
Presently, we anticipate GDP growth nearing 5% in 2021 with upside risk. The outlook will be uneven across sectors with the travel and hospitality industry likely to operate below potential for some time whilst technology and goods-production should see a quicker path to recovery.