Retail & Restaurants

Washington, DC

A Leader in U.S. Retail

The Washington, DC is the economic engine of a metropolitan region with a population of more than six million residents.

DC’s daytime population swells to more than one million, has one of the highest educated workforces in the country, and is a top destination for international travelers.

The retail scene of Washington, DC has become a national and international destination. The city’s diverse mix ranges from boutique storefronts lined along cobblestone walkways in historic Georgetown, higher-end retailers in the center of Downtown DC, and online stores showcasing their products in trendy brick-and-mortar shops in Shaw.

DC’s retail market is expected to remain strong as the metropolitan area’s economy is expected to grow by an average of 34,000 jobs per year for the next five years (Dr. Stephen Fuller, IHS Markit). In addition, it is estimated that DC will experience roughly double the nation’s percentage growth in food and beverage spending in the next five years (CBRE FastReport).

Top brands such as REI, Apple, Amazon, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, SoulCycle, Warby Parker, Nordstroms Rack, among dozens of others have chosen to expand in DC. And, local chains such as Cava Grill ($98.9 million), SweetGreen ($126.5 million), Matchbox ($35.3 million), and &Pizza ($40.5 million) have recently received private investments to expand their concepts.

Quick Facts

$13.9 Billion

DC saw $13.9 billion of taxable retail & restaurant sales in 2016.

Source: DC Office of the Chief Financial Officer

2X Building Permits

Residential building permits are being issued at twice the rate as the previous decade in DC.

Source: U.S. Census, Building Permits Survey

38 Grocery Stores

38 new or modernized grocery stores have opened in DC since 2000 with 8 more in the pipeline as of September 2017.

Source: WDCEP Research

Why Retail & Restaurants Choose DC

Diverse Customer Base

The District of Columbia offers an increasing residential base (681,170 – a 13% increase from 2010) and a solid daytime population of more than one million people. As an international market DC attracts an additional 22 million visitors who spend $7.3 billion. Situated in the center of the nation’s fourth-largest metropolitan region, DC offers the prime location to tap into more than 6 million people whose median household income is in excess of $95,000.

Growing Food and Beverage Market

The growing restaurant scene has earned DC its first Michelin Guide with 14 restaurants earning Michelin stars along with being named “Restaurant City of the Year” by Bon Appetit in 2016. DC’s homegrown restaurateurs have also received national recognition. Aaron Silverman’s Rose’s Luxury was awarded best new restaurant by Bon Appetit in 2014 and his Pineapple & Pearls restaurant along with Himitsu and Timber Pizza Co. made Bon Appetit’s 2017 best new restaurant list. Internationally recognized chef, Jose Andres received Outstanding Chef honors from the James Beard Foundation in 2011.

Additionally, Maketto (H Street, NE) was listed by GQ as one of The Best Denim & Casual Shops in America in 2015 and Blue Mercury was acquired by Macy’s in 2015 at a value of $210 million (Pitchbook).

Increasing Sales

With an estimated $13.9 billion in taxable retail and restaurant sales in 2016 it is clear that retailers and shoppers alike have a renewed confidence in DC as a retail hot spot.

Booming Market for Retailers & Grocery Stores

National chains such as Apple, Best Buy and Target have recognized the spending power of DC’s residents and local retailers such as Bus Boys & Poets, Georgetown Cupcake and Ben’s Chili Bowl have become icons in their respective neighborhoods. New grocery stores continue to open on a yearly basis and existing stores are being modernized. Since 2000, 38 new or modernized grocery stores have opened in DC.

Resources for Retail & Real Estate:

Sector Spotlight: DC’s Grocery Store Growth

Grocery stores are economic and social hubs that can transform neighborhoods. Many of DC’s neighborhoods have been revitalized by new grocery stores, most notably Logan Circle with the arrival of Whole Foods at 14th & P Streets in 2000. Qualified grocery stores can also take advantage of incentives via the Supermarket Tax Exemption Act of 2000. For more information please download the Supermarket Tax Incentive summary.

Grocery Store Opportunity Map

To view existing, pipeline and potential grocery sites please visit our Grocery Store Opportunities map.

New DC Grocery Stores (since 2000)

StoreLocationSq. Ft.Delivery
Whole Foods Market1440 P Street, NW42,0002000
Giant1050 Brentwood Road, NE54,0002002
Giant (1)1345 Park Road, NW53,0002005
Trader Joes1101 25th Street, NW11,8002006
Yes! Organics3809 12th Street, NE7,2002006
Giant1535 Alabama Avenue, SE66,0002007
Harris Teeter1391 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE47,0002008
Harris Teeter1631 Kalorama Road, NW37,0002008
Safeway490 L Street, NW59,0002008
Yes! Organics4100 Georgia Avenue, NW11,0002008
Yes! Organics2123 14th Street, NW6,0002008
Safeway (1)1855 Wisconsin Avenue, NW71,0002010
Safeway (1)401 M Street, SW55,0002010
Harris Teeter1st & M Streets, NE50,0002010
Fairlawn Market (3)2323 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE7,5002010
Whole Foods Market22nd & I Streets, NW37,0002011
Aldi901 17th Street, NE17,9002011
Yes! Organics (1)410 8th Street, SE4,1152012
CostcoNew York & South Dakota Avenue, NE154,0004Q 2012
Sav-A-Lot680 Rhode Island Avenue, NE2013
Glens Garden Market2001 S Street, NW8,4002Q 2013
Giant3rd & H Streets, NE41,2002013
Giant (1)7th & O Streets, NW75,0004Q 2013
Walmart1st & H Streets, NW76,0004Q 2013
Walmart5929 Georgia Avenue, NW106,0004Q 2013
Trader Joe's14th & U Streets, NW15,1001Q 2014
Safeway (1)3830 Georgia Avenue, NW62,0002Q 2014
Streets Market and Cafe2400 14th Street, NW9,0002Q 2014
Harris Teeter1212 4th Street, SE50,0004Q 2014
Giant (1)3336 Wisconsin Avenue, NW56,0004Q 2014
MOM's1501 New York Avenue, NE16,0004Q 2014
Union Kitchen Grocery 538 3rd Street, NE1,0003Q 2015
Glens Garden Market1924 8th Street, NW4,8004Q 2015
WalmartSouth Dakota Avenue & Riggs Road, NE120,0004Q 2015
Whole Foods600 block of H Street, NE39,0001Q 2017
Union Kitchen Grocery801 Mount Vernon Place, NW2,2001Q 2017
Whole Foods (2)New Jersey Avenue & Eye Street, SE36,0002017
Streets Market and Cafe1221 Massachusetts Avenue NWQ3 2017
Trader Joe's (2)700 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE11,000Q4 2017
Trader Joe's (2)340 Florida Avenue, NE15,0002018
Union Kitchen Grocery (2)1301 K Street NW7,0002017/18
Whole Foods (2)965 Florida Avenue, NW41,0002019/20
Safeway (1, 2)415 14th Street, SE50,000TBD
Harris Teeter (2)Georgia & Eastern Aves., NW50,000TBD
Harris Teeter (2)North Capitol St & Michigan Ave., NW53,000TBD
Wegmans (2)3900 Wisconsin Avenue, NW~90,000TBD
(1) replacement store | (2) Pipeline | (3) closed (2014)

Business Spotlight

Roadside Development

“We’ve been the largest attraction of young people in the United States for the last decade, therefore we’ve attracted some of the best and brightest minds throughout the entire United States to Washington, DC and it’s because of the jobs we offer but also because of the quality and the way of life that we offer. And that’s why I’d invest in Washington, DC, because its future is enormously bright.” – Richard Lake, Partner, Roadside Development

WDCEP leads the #WeDC campaign, the most successful digital campaign at SXSW for two years running.

WDCEP runs DC’s presence at ICSC RECon, retail’s leading conference which brings together 30,000+ leaders in the industry.

WDCEP regularly convenes public and private DC business leaders across sectors.

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