April 11. 2012 9:00AM

Kmart store closings hit region’s retail market

The closing of Kmart stores in Waukesha and Burlington led the southeastern Wisconsin retail real estate market downward during the first quarter, according to reports from Xceligent/CARW and CBRE.

The region’s retail market had 125,017 square feet of negative absorption during the quarter and the vacancy rate rose from 7.6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011 to 7.9 percent, according to Xceligent.

Kmart closed an 117,828-square-foot store at 120 E. Sunset Dr. in Waukesha and a 87,552-square-foot store at 1052-200 Milwaukee Ave., Burlington, during the quarter.

However, the region’s retail market could gain strength later as several retail projects are under construction and two large projects, The Corners in Brookfield and the Mayfair Collection in Wauwatosa, are in the planning phase.

“Despite a lack of activity and little change in occupancy, there is still over 400,000 square feet of retail currently under construction in the Milwaukee area, proof there is still plenty of activity in the market,” the CBRE report said.

First quarter retail space vacancy and absorption rates by county (according to Xceligent):
  • Washington, 8.2 percent, 19,695 square feet
  • Sheboygan, 9.5 percent, 13,302 square feet
  • Ozaukee, 4.0 percent, 5,682 square feet
  • Kenosha, 7.4 percent, -371 square feet
  • Walworth, 2.5 percent, -1,600 square feet
  • Milwaukee, 7.3 percent, -25,829 square feet
  • Racine, 14.3 percent, -58,141 square feet
  • Waukesha, 7.7 percent, -77,755 square feet