Monday, November 05, 2018
The Changing Landscape of American Retail
When I was in Phoenix last month, I met a distant cousin for lunch at a restaurant next to a shopping mall. I was early, so I decided to take a walk around the mall - it was easy to walk, the place was nearly deserted. From what had originally been a two story mall with three anchor stores, there was one department store and a handful, maybe a dozen small stores left, and the department store was having a closing sale. In my lifetime I have seen enclosed shopping malls largely replace downtown department stores (the exception being densely populated urban centers in cities like New York, and Chicago where downtown stores survived.) And now the malls are closing. There are millions of square feet of empty shopping malls.
When my family started spending winters in Titusville, Florida - across the river from the Kennedy Space Center, I was thrilled, there were two shopping malls, one with Sears, and the other with JC Penny on one end, and Belk (a southern chain) on the other. All of those are now closed, one of the malls has been torn down and replaced with a handful of big-box stores.
What will retail look like in 10 years?
What will we do with the vacant shopping malls?