The just concluded year saw downtown Nashville's retail community add 36 new retailers while 34 closed.
By comparison, in 2010 downtown had 33 retail businesses open and 25 close for a net gain of eight new retailers.
Of the approximately 400 retail spaces downtown, 88 percent are occupied, according to Crissy Cassetty, Nashville Downtown Partnership retail recruiter.
Cassetty said the numbers must be viewed with the context of a still sluggish economy.
“Both the volume and quality of new retail stores opening in downtown Nashville are encouraging,” Cassetty said. “We are attracting and recruiting more stores that fit the optimal merchandising mix. The retail strategy focuses on the needs of downtown employees, residents and visitors, and creates a unique shopping destination for the region.”
The partnership defines downtown as the geographical area bordered by Jefferson Street on the north, the Cumberland River on the east and the inner-interstate loop on the west and south.
The partnership defines retail as including restaurants and bars.
Not all downtown retailers are members of the partnership nor originally used the partnership’s assistance to find space.
Cassetty said on a positive note, 2011 saw nine retail businesses that were announced and are expected to open this calendar year.