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The decline of the American mall continues

By Don-Alvin Adegeest


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Image: Shopping Mall

Once the fabric of communities, the American mall has faced a long battle to stay relevant in the digital age, and its decline shows no slowdown.

Multiple analysts have projected the shrinkage of U.S. shopping malls, which in their heyday totalled 2,500 in the 1980s. In the next ten years there may be just 150 malls left. Coresight Research in 2020 said 25 percent of American malls would close within five years, citing shoppers prefer to make quick trips to shops in close proximity.

There are currently 700 malls in the U.S., but considering closure rates, these could be reduced to just 150. The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) said the downward trend shows how large shopping centres have suffered since Covid-19, more than other brick-and-mortar or e-commerce retailers.

Nick Egelanian, president of retail consulting firm SiteWorks, told the WSJ the malls that will survive will be premium locations with entertainment, dining, and luxury stores.

Malls have long struggled with retaining occupancies and foot flow. Once an anchor store exits, usually a department store or retail giant like Gap, it leaves little hope for the smaller retailers, leaving mall owners with little capital few prospects of revitalising these once bustling shopping centres.

Shopping mall