That left Walmart, already a grocery store juggernaut, breaking sales records during the pandemic. Revenue grew $35 billion to $559 billion last fiscal year, and has continued to rise: In August, the company reported a $3.3 billion or 2.4% increase in revenue, to $141 billion.
A high-performing Walmart can draw 150,000 to 200,000 visits per month, a boon for other nearby businesses. Shadow centers are typically made up of service-oriented retailers such as restaurants, financial services, hair salons, cellphone stores and dentists — which usually can’t be done online.
“The visibility and foot traffic that adds to a shadow-anchored retail strip center with millions of customers parking next door is irreplaceable to tenants,” said Colliers commercial real estate vice president Alex Perez, who has worked with MRP before.
MRP Capital began buying Walmart shadow centers in 2015. It now employs 25 people and owns more than 60 centers in small towns across the U.S. — including four in the St. Louis region — with tenants such as Dollar Tree, Great Clips and Verizon Wireless. In July, it closed on the $105 million fund, its first-ever, that it used to buy the shadow centers across 23 states.
“If you can go out and execute on $100 million funds in the heart of COVID, nobody can argue that MRP knows what they’re doing,” said Joe McClary, a managing partner at MRP.