As Houston’s population grows so does the need for retailers and restaurants. National and regional retailers are happily responding to this demand. In the past fifteen months 450 thousand square feet of new restaurant and grocery store space has been added to Houston’s retail market. These companies include Panera Bread, Trader Joe’s, Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers, World of Beer, Raising Cane’s, Carl’s Jr., Cheddar’s, Joe V’s Smart Shop, Whole Foods Market, and Aldi. Houston has also been a bright spot on the retail employment front, adding nearly 13,000 retail jobs in 2011, a 4.9% growth rate. 10,000 of those jobs came in the food and beverage stores sector. The average retail vacancy rate remained unchanged between Q4 2011 and Q1 2012 at 7.2%, but decreased from 7.8% on a year-over-year basis. The overall Houston retail average rental rate decreased between quarters; however, up-scale rental rates increased slightly or remained the same. A lot of the retail growth has occurred in the outlying areas of Telfair, Cinco Ranch and The Woodlands.