6 major ways malls have changed over the last decade

closed mall retail apocalypse

The mall as we know it is on its way out.

As the the retail apocalypse ravages the US, more than 9,100 stores are expected to close in 2019. And malls across the country are dying as department stores like Macy's and Sears, once important anchors for mall foot traffic, are closing down for good.Advertisement

A report from Credit Suisse in 2017 showed that between 20% to 25% of malls are expected to close by 2022.

"The department store industry has suffered in recent decades," said retail historian Vicki Howard, who authored the book "From Main Street to Mall: The Rise and Fall of the American Department Store" and is a lecturer at the University of Essex. "And their path is closely connected to that of the shopping mall."

As department stores like Sears and JCPenney shutter, they leave holes in traditional malls, which can sometimes lead to the shuttering of the entire complex. Since 2010, malls have either adapted or succumbed to the retail apocalypse.
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From the dwindling number of malls to the introduction of experiential elements, here are the six main ways malls have changed in the last decade.

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1. Across America, malls are shuttering

1. Across America, malls are shuttering

Between 20% to 25% of malls will close by 2022, according to a report done by Credit Suisse in 2017.

Between 20% to 25% of malls will close by 2022, according to a report done by Credit Suisse in 2017.

Source: Business Insider, Business Insider

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The problem is partly due to mass store closures, which cripples shopping centers. More than 9,100 stores are expected to close in 2019.

The problem is partly due to mass store closures, which cripples shopping centers. More than 9,100 stores are expected to close in 2019.

Source: Business Insider

Nordstrom, JCPenney and Macy's all closed their locations in Northgate Mall in Seattle, which is being transformed into offices, homes, and an NHL training center.

Nordstrom, JCPenney and Macy's all closed their locations in Northgate Mall in Seattle, which is being transformed into offices, homes, and an NHL training center.

Source: Business Insider

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2. Foot traffic is declining

2. Foot traffic is declining

August 2018 was when foot traffic at some of the best shopping centers across the country hit a high point. Since then, it has fallen, according to a report from data analytics firm Thasos.

August 2018 was when foot traffic at some of the best shopping centers across the country hit a high point. Since then, it has fallen, according to a report from data analytics firm Thasos.

Source: CNBC

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3. The anchor store is a thing of the past

3. The anchor store is a thing of the past

Department stores like JCPenney, Sears, and Macy's were once foot-traffic anchors for malls across the country.

Department stores like JCPenney, Sears, and Macy's were once foot-traffic anchors for malls across the country.
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But many of these anchor stores have been struggling in the last decade. And when stores like JCPenney or Macy's close, they leave holes in traditional malls, which can sometimes lead to the shuttering of the entire complex.

But many of these anchor stores have been struggling in the last decade. And when stores like JCPenney or Macy's close, they leave holes in traditional malls, which can sometimes lead to the shuttering of the entire complex.

Source: Business Insider, Business Insider

Sears, once a leading American retailer, filed for bankruptcy in October 2018 and was bought out in February of this year by Eddie Lampert, the company's former CEO. Hundreds of Sears stores have closed in the past few years.

Sears, once a leading American retailer, filed for bankruptcy in October 2018 and was bought out in February of this year by Eddie Lampert, the company's former CEO. Hundreds of Sears stores have closed in the past few years.

Source: Business Insider

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4. The stores in malls are changing

4. The stores in malls are changing

Many formerly popular mall stores have died in the last decade. Wet Seal filed for bankruptcy in 2015 and announced in 2017 that it would close all of its stores.

Many formerly popular mall stores have died in the last decade. Wet Seal filed for bankruptcy in 2015 and announced in 2017 that it would close all of its stores.

Source: The Washington Post, Business Insider

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Meanwhile, new brands like Bonobos — which started out online in 2007 — have developed a brick-and-mortar presence in malls across America.

Meanwhile, new brands like Bonobos — which started out online in 2007 — have developed a brick-and-mortar presence in malls across America.

Source: Business Insider, Bonobos

5. Experience has become a core focus in retail

5. Experience has become a core focus in retail
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Megamalls, like the recently opened American Dream in New Jersey, represent a new kind of shopping complex, one with an independence from traditional department store anchors.

Megamalls, like the recently opened American Dream in New Jersey, represent a new kind of shopping complex, one with an independence from traditional department store anchors.

Other attractions and amenities, like theme parks and aquariums, are expected to drive foot traffic in these massive centers.

Other attractions and amenities, like theme parks and aquariums, are expected to drive  foot traffic in these massive centers.
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"This is a different kind of complex not dependent on department store anchors," retail historian Vicki Howard said of the American Dream.

"This is a different kind of complex not dependent on department store anchors," retail historian Vicki Howard said of the American Dream.

6. Virtual reality pop-ups in malls are one of the latest trends of the decade to hit shopping malls and drive foot traffic

6. Virtual reality pop-ups in malls are one of the latest trends of the decade to hit shopping malls and drive foot traffic

Source: Pymnts.com

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Virtual reality startup The Void partnered with mall operator Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield to bring 25 pop-up experiences to the US and Europe by 2022.

Virtual reality startup The Void partnered with mall operator Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield to bring 25 pop-up experiences to the US and Europe by 2022.

Source: Pymnts.com