DC’s Robust Retail Market Results in Over 1,000 New Retail Jobs in 2013
The WDCEP is pleased to announce that over 1,000 new retail jobs have been created in DC in 2013. This includes 600 jobs at the District’s first two Walmart Stores opening, December 4, 2013. An additional 350 jobs were added to the local market with the opening of H & M at Chevy Chase Pavilion, Marshall’s at the National Shops, TJ Maxx/Home Goods at Georgetown Park, Nordstrom Rack at 18th & L Streets, Giant Food at City Market at O, and several smaller boutiques that opened throughout the city.
The DC retail market is one of the best in the Nation. Over 400,000 square feet of new retail space will open in DC by year-end 2013, and another 700,000 sf of space is in the pipeline. The rising demand for retail in Washington is partly driven by the explosive residential growth, but also rising visitor and daytime population.
Job creation and retail attraction are two of the stated priorities of the District’s Five Year Economic Development Strategy. “Retail development in DC supports the District’s goals for retail attraction and employment development,” said Keith Sellars, President/CEO of the Washington DC Economic Partnership. According to research by the WDCEP, the impact of retail expansion in the city is most evident in those neighborhoods that have historically lacked access to essential goods and employment. An Impact Analysis completed in 2012 for WDCEP revealed that 6,239 new retail jobs were created in DC between 2001 and August 2012 “Retail is an important component of our job base,” said Sellars. “Retail offers individuals first entering the job market a chance to gain essential skills and a track record and enter an industry that provides advancement.”
According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), retail and retail employment is a barometer for the Nation’s economy. Increases in retail translate into the creation of new jobs within a large supply chain that brings products to store shelves. According to a recent study by PricewaterhouseCoopers, commissioned by NRF, the retail industry supports 42 million American jobs.
Demand for retail jobs in the region is high. “We received over 23,000 job applications for these two stores. 68% of the 600 new jobs at Walmart have gone to DC residents,“ said Alex Barron, Regional General Manager at Walmart. Large retailers such as Walmart offer individuals a career path that allows for flexibility and growth. “Retail is one of the few industries that gas jobs at all levels and ongoing advancement opportunities. Its businesses like Walmart that can create opportunities for career growth and greater economic security for families,” said Barron. Walmart offers employment and career opportunities at many different levels. Over 75% their store management teams started as retail associates.
Walmart has worked diligently over the past few years to engage with the local community in planning their entrance to the DC market. The retailer opened two neighborhood based hiring centers to ensure local residents had an opportunity to pursue employment. Walmart is also participating in Mayor Vincent C. Gray’s “One City, One Hire” program, run through the city employment services department.
Walmart joins several other national retailers that have opened in DC this year, including Marshall’s, TJ Maxx/Home Goods, Giant Food, DSW, Nordstrom Rack, and H & M.