Retail analyst weighs in on the future of malls

With announcement from major retailers such as Macys, J.C. Penney and Sears announcing store closures nationwide, shopping malls could be in for some tough times ahead.

One retail analyst said many shopping malls have "anchor spaces" for major department stores, and when an anchor store closes, it can be hard to find a retailer large enough to replace it, and oftentimes, the closure of a big box store at a shopping mall could be the start of a downward spiral for that mall.

Retail Analyst Jeff Green with Jeff Green partners said one major reason for the mall's decline is online shopping.

"As they go up, brick and mortar sales go down," said Green. "And so many of these retailers, especially department stores like Macy's, Sears, and J.C. Penney are in a bind now, because they've over built and now they're closing many, many stores."

Other reasons for the mall's decline may lie with changing consumer habits. Teens are no longer wanting to spend the day at the mall, and outsoor malls are changing how and where people shop as well.

Green said some brick and mortar stores do do well, because they have a product out for people to test.

"That becomes an experience, and that's what younger consumers want to see," said Green.

Green said while the future of traditional mall is not looking bright, there isn't necessarily a downturn in retail shopping, he did say brick and mortar stores will somehow have to adapt, and many malls could change in the future.

"I think the "C" and "D" malls will certainly go away," said Green. ""A" malls like Scottsdale Fashion Square or even the "B" malls like Arrowhead Town Center and some of the others in town will do just fine. They may have to down-scale some of their retail, and maybe bring in non-retail uses like housing, hotel, or offices."


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