Retail vacancy rates were up 7 percent this summer in North and Central Jersey, according to the latest survey by the Goldstein Group, a Paramus-based commercial realtor.

President Chuck Lanyard says vacancies were created with the demise of Toys R' Us and some Sears and K-Mart stores. But there's good news.

"If you take big boxes out of the equation, then you will see that the vacancy rates are still low enough that stores that are in good locations are leasing," he said.

"Those stores (big box stores) are part of the equation and they do not lease up very quickly."

Lanyard says in the ongoing battle with online retailing, bricks-and-mortar stores continue to evolve.

"Retail is reinventing itself in different ways to accommodate themselves to a changing world, in every way. The reality is, many stores have too many stores. At the same time, what people do not realize is that they are really just thinking very smartly because they are doing business in both locations."

The lowest vacancy rates were on booming Route 3 in Clifton, Route 17 in Ramsey and Mahwah, and Route 22 in Union and Springfield.

The highest vacancy rates were on Route 18 in East Brunswick and Hooper Avenue in Toms River.

Joe Cutter is the afternoon news anchor on New Jersey 101.5

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