Press release

Center City’s Retail Scene Continues Growing

JoAnn Loviglio
T 215.440.5546


PHILADELPHIA (November 29, 2019) – Center City’s transformation into a 24-hour downtown is reflected in its burgeoning retail scene, with residential, convention and tourism growth expanding beyond the historic customer base of office, education and health care employees and students. Today, 308,100 workers, 193,000 residents, 3.6 million occupied hotel room nights and 111,000 college students together create over $1 billion in annual retail demand.

The 3,266 active Center City storefronts in 2019 consist of 978 retail stores, 1,058 eating and drinking establishments and 1,230 service providers. And while an expanding job base and a dramatic increase in Center City residents has attracted 90 well-known national retailers in the last five years, 747 of those 978 retail stores in the downtown – three out of four – are local businesses.

Center City’s long-established Rittenhouse Row retail district has grown beyond West Walnut Street as rents have risen, transforming West Chestnut Street and the connecting numbered streets and expanding the boundaries of Philadelphia’s prime retail corridor. Foot traffic on West Chestnut now equals or surpasses that of West Walnut, signaling that retailers can locate anywhere in Center City’s walkable downtown and shoppers will follow.

Meanwhile, the burgeoning Market East district located east of Broad Street is adding 1.2 million square feet of retail – a $910 million investment offering access to one of the largest urban markets in the country with abundant transit con­nections and tourists, and with less barrier to entry than similar markets. With retail rents averaging $50 per square foot, Market East topped JLL’s list of the 10 most afford­able and desirable prime urban retail corridors in the United States in 2018, beating locations in Chicago, Seattle, San Francisco, Miami and Washington, D.C. The critical mass of large-scale mixed-use development in Market East is creating a continuous shopping and dining district from Independence Mall to City Hall.

For additional details, examples, data, charts and more, download the 24-page report – Center City Reports: Philadelphia Retail.


Center City District, a private-sector organization dedicated to making Center City Philadelphia clean, safe and attractive, is committed to maintaining Center City’s competitive edge as a regional employment center, a quality place to live, and a premier regional destination for dining, shopping and cultural attractions. Find us at