I am sure malls are not something that is growing in the USA. People are increasingly buying everything online and convenience is the biggest factor among all other reasons. But, today I went to a nearby mall. And just so that you know today is 21st December. It is a very cold day and we had snow this week. I went there to return a shirt in Macy’s and I could not really find a parking spot after trying for 30 minutes. So, I came back. While I was there, I could think of only one thing, that people really should pick up a new hobby or learn to cook and stay at home. You can imagine the traffic and as the population in Boston suburbs is growing the parking lots are full. My biggest mistake was that I went around lunch hour.
Reason 1: But while I was in the car behind other cars those were waiting for a parking spot, I realized, all these guys who are waiting for parking spots still have a spot in their mind for malls. And yes, maybe Sears and Macys are dying a slow death. But, during the weekend, people have to go somewhere to hang out and they go to the nearby mall. And even if some of the stores close down, maybe someone will find an opportunity to build an arcade. And to be honest, after today’s really bad experience I think, movie theaters have the future too. Netflix won’t eat them all. People really hate it at home. Otherwise, they would not spend hours just to spot a parking spot.
Reason 2: In the past month, I made two wrong purchases over the internets. One is a shirt which I ordered for the wrong size and one is a pair of sunglasses that are smaller than what I need. Now, this is an important part. Ordering stuff. If I want to order online, I will have to stick to one brand, And even if I get the size correct the quality of fabric often sucks. And the only way to know that before buying is going to malls and actually touching it. So, what I am trying to say it, touch it before you buy it possible only in-store, does not matter how good the virtual reality gets. And as Amazon wardrobe and stitch fix become popular or if they become popular, since I found them unnecessarily expensive, I do not think everyone will subscribe to the online model.
3rd Reason – As Sears, JC Penny, Macy’s bleed to death, one thing to remember, these are losing money in many of their stores and they are closing down those stores and keeping the profitable shops open. Credit Swiss think by 2022 20 -25% malls will shut down. Maybe that is true because in many places it will not remain profitable to keep those big shops open and as these big shops shut doors the malls will shut down. But, I think there will be new experience stores, I am entirely not sure what that store will be. I do not have any crystal ball. But, I can say, there is a need for smaller stores and experience stores for electronics to clothing and then those stores will be convenient to return stuff or pick up a package. Educating customers and letting them experience something will still be a huge part. And look at those Apple and Tesla stores. Service and information will still be a part. Maybe Amazon will move into malls. Where will people go when it is cold outside? They need indoor malls, food court, movie theaters, game arcades and of course some retailers to browse and window shop. Not it is up to the retailer how they will monetize those footfalls and eyeballs.