This week credit market investors are falling out of love with US shopping malls. They estimate that up to 15% of malls could close over the next 5 years in the face of stiff online competition. While the future of megamalls which include cinemas, restaurants, and bowling alleys seems safe, second tier malls face the challenge of bringing consumers through their doors.
How could this be? How could the American shopping mall, a bastion of capitalism and impulse shopping be headed for the scraps? Needless to say the Hollister and Abercrombie lobbies must be livid.
Unfortunately other signs don’t do anything to reverse this notion. Anchors such as JC Penney and Sears have had declining sales and fear that they may close stores soon. On the flip side, sales for online retailers such as Ebay and Amazon continue to grow every year. E-commerce accounts for about $1 out of every $10 spent by the average US shopper and this figure is continuing to rise.
A generation without the shopping mall is a generation which can’t relate to Fast Times at Ridgemont High or the final scene in Superbad. Given the current trend, this sad time might be right around the corner.
Are shopping malls just an inefficient means compared to online venues?
Will the American shopping mall bounce back?