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The last few months have been a scary time

for many retail categories. For mall-based

apparel and hard goods chains, it has been

downright brutal. These challenges have

also been particularly acute for many chains

historically active at mid-level price points.

For them, retail bankruptcies and store

closures are up, and publicly traded entities

are under more pressure than ever from

Wall Street to “right-size” for the new

omni-channel world of e-commerce by

shuttering storefronts. Some speculate that

the bricks-and-mortar retail world of

tomorrow will be about discount and luxury,

no middle.

Discount and off-price retail now accounts

for the lion’s share of growth in North

America — primarily in suburban centers.

In both the United States and Canada, the

expansion of top luxury and upscale

concepts continues, albeit at an increasingly

conservative pace.

However, a new breed of retailers is

connecting with Millennial consumers largely

on their own terms and, more often than not,

at that seemingly disappearing mid-market

price point. This phenomenon is not

happening in the malls, whether they are

thriving trophy centers or dying Class C

properties. Nor is it happening in urban high

street markets like Fifth Avenue, the

Magnificent Mile, Rodeo Drive, or Union

Square, or even in suburban community,

neighborhood, and power centers where

discount is the name of the game. It is not

happening on the High streets or on the Main

streets, but on what we call the Cool Streets.

In this report, we explore the rise of dozens

of exciting new retail districts across the

United States and Canada in urban (and

urbane) neighborhoods profoundly impacted

by the rise of the Millennial consumer.

Make no mistake about it, these are largely

“hipster” neighborhoods notable for their

embrace of the unconventional, the out-of-

the-box, and the cool. In some cases, these

are longstanding bohemian enclaves known

as focal points for local arts, music or LGBT

communities. But most of the neighborhoods

featured in this report are up-and-coming

trade areas driven by dramatic demographic

shifts and the strong Millennial preference for

urban living. The renaissance occurring on

these Cool Streets has been driven by an

explosion of new restaurant and retail

concepts that connect with the seemingly

elusive Millennial consumer like no other.

The story of this growth alone is noteworthy.

However, what may be most important is

that in an age of increasing retail uncertainty,

Cool Streets serve as an incubator of sorts

for what will likely be the hottest new retail

concepts of tomorrow.

The Cool Streets of North America


details these trends and lists what we

believe to be the 100 most important Cool

Streets in North America right now. We will

It’s not happening on the High Streets

or on the Main Streets, it’s happening

on what we call the Cool Streets.


Cool Streets Report