Would You Like to Live in the Mall?

mall-of-memphis

As most of you are probably aware, retail in this country is currently in a great deal of stress. This is hardly news. What you’ve likely not thought about is the effect these retail challenges are having on the Shopping Mall itself. How many of you have a Mall in your area that has 50% or more vacancies, or a Mall that has actually closed? It’s likely many of you have seen this. As someone who spent years working in the Shopping Center industry, I’ve seen a lot of it – in fact, two malls that I previously marketed have since been torn down – and they weren’t that old, nor were they run down – but they were in areas that were “over-malled” and where the demographics had changed around them!  I’ve attached a photo of one of them – from after its closing but obviously before it was leveled.

This trend of retailers moving away from enclosed Shopping Malls tells us a number of things about today’s consumer and the retail environment, but the most important thing that it tells us is that the model itself is broken – and has been for quite some time. However, the front-runners in the industry saw this coming and approximately 20 years ago some changes began to take place in the industry with the development of “mixed-use centers” (malls attached to office buildings and hotels) and lifestyle centers (outdoor malls that look like a small town old fashioned downtowns).

Today, however, we’re on the brink of another level of evolution in the industry – shopping malls as housing! I recently read a very interesting article in the ICSC (International Council of Shopping Centers) Smartbrief. This article provided an excellent overview of this emerging trend and its’ anticipated evolution over the next several years, the link is attached http://www.housingwire.com/2008/12/29/malls-the-future-of-housing. It’s an interesting idea to consider. Personally, I think it’s a great idea, though I would guess that consumers will still need a number of years to be in agreement with me. What do you think after reading the article? I’d be very interested in your comments.

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The author, Linda Daichendt, is Founder and Managing Consultant at Strategic Growth Concepts with over twenty years’ experience in working with small businesses. Linda can be contacted by email at strategicgrowthconcepts@earthlink.net. The company website can be viewed at www.strategicgrowthconcepts.com

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