LATEST NEWS

Is The Shopping Mall Culture Dying in America?

It is time to reinvent malls because they still play a central role in urban and suburban cities.

By Nagidmy Marquez June 23, 2017

Dozens of malls have closed in the last decade. Nobody seems to be safe since other anchor stores are also at risk (Macy’s, JCPenney, Radioshack, K-mart and Sears). The retail apocalypse seems to have officially taken over the US. More and more suburban shopping centers are left behind as the online retail industry continues to forge forward on its path to success. The decreasing sales are creating all sort of problems for the once thriving culture of malls and iconic anchor stores in America.

Dead malls are popping up all over the states. It seems that in the Midwest, the epidemic is creating fatalities among shopping places. Today thousands of empty suburban malls haunt the American landscape. There is even a website called DeadMalls.com which is systematically documenting the decline of the shopping culture in the country.

Related: Emotional Rescue: How Technology And Experiences Are Keeping Customers At Malls

The almighty online retail world is offering multiple and convenient shopping options. Americans are faced with having to choose the best way to satisfy their purchasing needs: it is the battle between the online and offline worlds. As a result, more and more stores are leaving malls. The question is simple, will the mall culture survive? The answer is more complex than it seems.

CoStar estimates that nearly a quarter of malls in the US, or roughly 310 of the nation’s 1,300 shopping malls, are at high risk of losing an anchor store. On the other hand, Credit Suisse projects about 8,640 US retail stores will close by the end of year, a far greater number than any year in the recent past, and worse than at the height of the 2008-09 financial crisis. Overall, they expect up to 25% of US malls to close by 2022.

Videographer Dan Bell has been documenting America’s shopping crisis through his YouTube series Dead Malls. Bell travels the country discovering these dying / abandoned properties. His works are “informative tours of some of the most depressed shopping malls in the mid-atlantic region and beyond.”

Last week, Amazon’s announced its $13.7 billion acquisition of Whole Foods. Not only was the retail world shocked, the entire world was as well. This is the company’s first deal for more than $1 billion. The internet giant is adding a network of more than 450 physical stores to its portfolio. What this means is that the supermarket experience, and retailing experience, is about to start a new chapter. Other competitors are now faced with the dilemma of dealing with a very powerful player who happens to dictate the online retail industry.

With the current scenario, it is important to ask, is it really the US shopping mall culture dying or this is just mere transformation? Whatever the case, someone needs to start working on reinventing the mall experience. A good attempt was what J.C. Penney tried to do under Ron Johnson, its former and controversial CEO. He wanted to use the stores as places not only to shop but to hang out – a street inside each store. The problem with this concept was that sales were not good enough to cover the renovation costs. Second, and hypothetically speaking, even if the sales were amazing, the stores would have stayed in the malls – the ones nobody is visiting. Big conundrum indeed!

The problem is so complex, that malls are appealing to some extreme measures. For example, a Hampton mall, in Michigan, is offering free first year’s rent on retail space. “For the past five years, a majority of the once-bustling mall in Bay County’s Hampton Township has sat empty, its out-of-season Christmas decorations preserved under fogged-over skylights.”, reports Mlive Michigan.

The world of retail is changing speedily, but the mall still plays a central role in urban and suburban cities. Maybe it is time for mall operators to start thinking more about customers and their experiences and not just as properties managers.

Nagidmy Marquez

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Nagidmy Marquez

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Nagidmy Marquez

Nagidmy is a global communications strategist with more than 15 years of experience in the creation, curation and implementation of strategic content and integrated communications practices. She has worked across different regions and cultures of the world including: United States, Latin America, Europe and the Middle East. She is a Mafalda and Don Quixote lover.

  • AGORAFY
    Stefano Boeri, the architect mastermind behind the famous plant-covered skyscrapers, is now designing Forest Cities in Liuzhou, China. #ForestCity #China https://goo.gl/PsTUwv
  • AGORAFY
    Auction is the second scheduled in a month for a One57 unit and it could set a NYC foreclosure record. #BillionairesRow #Foreclosures https://goo.gl/NZ3zqD
  • AGORAFY
    Once a couch-surfing website, Airbnb moves on to luxury properties, further disrupting hospitality industry. #Airbnb #Luxury https://goo.gl/7TpLk6
Is Real Estate Crowdfunding The Fix That Urban Housing In America Really Needs?
Saving money for a down payment? One can only hope. Most millennial in their twenties or thirties are mortified that they might never be able…
Brooklyn And Queens’ Real Estate Sub-Markets Continue Their Ascent To The New Heights
So, the sales prices in Brooklyn and Queens hit record highs. Again. Just like they did in December 2016 and at the end of this…
The Economy Of Car Services And Delivery Apps Might Be Making NYC Less Eco-Friendly
Living in an eco-friendly neighborhood is a good thing. And, as it always the case with the good things, it also costs more. High rents…
Building Communities: What The U.S. Developers Should Learn From Soho China
As our world emerges into the new period of globalization and technology, some of the most important by-products of this process are buildings that have…
Five Reasons Why All Entrepreneurs Must Keep Their Eyes On China
It is hard to overestimate the importance of Chinese influence on the modern global economy. Carving out a place in Chinese market and winning over…
Airbnb Up Their Game With A New Luxury Tier Featuring Mansions And Villas
Airbnb is about to seriously up their game. First, the company started testing a new service called Select in an attempt to push accommodation listings…
Will Artificial Intelligence Change Real Estate Industry In The Next Five Years?
Globalization and tech progress are the two forces that are irreversibly changing the world. Robots, machines, artificial intelligence (AI) tools, and, of course, vast amounts…
While Miami Condos Cool, Neighboring Towns and Cities Heat Up
It’s a nervous time for Miami developers as the market cools and many units remain unsold compared to a year ago. “Sales are slow with…

TOP 10