Brick and Mortar Bubble Bursting: 1/4th of Malls to Close by 2022?


By Paul Meekin

In five years time there may be 25 percent less shopping malls, per a report from Credit Suisse.

According to the LA Times:

“Traditional mall anchors, such as Macy’s, J.C. Penney and Sears, have announced numerous store closings in recent months. Clothiers including American Apparel, Bebe and BCBG Max Azria have filed for bankruptcy. The report estimates that around 8,640 stores will close by the end of the year.”

Well that’s comforting…

What’s not comforting is apparently this estimation may be underestimating the problem. Ron Friedman of the retail advisory firm Marcum states the number is probably closer to 30 percent.

If you ask completely unqualified me, there’s a Brick & Mortar bubble, and it’s bursting. It’s becoming easier and cheaper to purchase things which can then be shipped or brought directly to you. As opposed to the old model of going out to get them.

Amazon Prime, UberEATs, GoPuff, and Seamless all seek to keep your ass in your seat while they do all the ‘hard’ work for you. Which is more economical for a business, too. If people aren’t coming into your store – or if you don’t have a store, you don’t need to spend money on customer service associates (among other things), ultimately allowing you to streamline your business and reduce costs.

However, the report from Credit Suisse only takes into account traditional malls. It doesn’t include outlet malls, outdoor malls, and ‘Lifestyle’ malls – which are being built, and appear to be doing well.

For example Patriot Place in Foxboro,  Massachusetts is boomin’, but it isn’t technically a mall because it’s spread out and outdoors... And it also has the 5 Time Super Bowl Champs as a backbone.

Patriot’s Place ultimately proves a point. To get people off their keister and out of their phones, Xboxes, Apple TVs, PS4s, Nintendo Switches, Fidget Spinners, et al, the mall shopping experience will need to transform into a ‘destination’ that offers something special.

“If you have food and entertainment, that gives you a court to build around…Once you get past that you need to create a space that is lifestyle oriented.” stated David Marcotte, the senior vice president of Kantar Retail.

Regardless, it appears the market is doing what it always does. Innovation is eating the old ways alive – ultimately costing some jobs and changing our way of life forever. For better or worse, times are a changing, and the days of ‘Mall Rats’, might just be a thing of the Mall past.

Which is a shame because Wetzels Pretzels and Aunt Annie’s Pretzels are heaven manifested.

EDITOR’s NOTE: The views expressed are those of the author, they are not representative of The Libertarian Republic or its sponsors.

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