Blog - March 12, 2013

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Is the mall dead?


Angelo Carusi, Principal in our Retail Specialty Practice Group comments….Yes, malls fail as do any other property type, especially when not supported by real estate fundamentals. In fact, sales per square foot at U.S, malls continue to rise. GGP’s bankruptcy had nothing to do with the “failure” of malls; it had more to do with outstanding loans maturing at the height of the economic collapse. Retail in general, and malls in particular, must always evolve to stay relevant. While the Internet has, and will continue to eat away at some bricks-and-mortar sales, look at what is happening today. One of the most popular stores, and sought-after tenants in a mall is a company that promotes online sales through its technology: Apple. Following suit, Google has announced it will build bricks-and-mortar stores because it has determined that its anticipated customer is in fact experiential and does for the most… part enjoy a “hands-on” personal experience when shopping.

As cultures shift and online retailers bite into sales, retailers, developers, architects and designers must identify what the next generation of retail will look like. Designers and architects need to embrace the local markets and make the mall a real gathering place for the community, where the experience is worth the trip. Throughout the Great Recession and since the inception of the enclosed mall, the high quality regional shopping center has remained very flexible and continues to be embraced by the public. The key to success has been to adapt to local needs while incorporating national trends where it makes sense for the retailer, developer and public at large.