Americans Go Back to the Mall
It’s been a long time since it was "cool" to go
to the mall. That may be changing as department stores in malls are gaining
market share over those located off-malls for the first time since the 1980s,
according to Consumer Growth Partners.
To be clear, the gain was not a big one.
Mall-based department stores moved from 2.4 percent in 2009 to 2.5 percent
"Even though it was only a tenth of a share point, for department stores,
that is a huge change," Craig Johnson, president of Consumer Growth Partners,
told Fortune. "This is a real turn in the market. We’re optimistic
that the momentum is just gathering."
The increase in mall-based sales
can be tied to a general improvement in the economy, fewer new malls being
built to dilute traffic, and existing department stores performing better than
in the past as weaker rivals have gone out of business.
Another trend benefiting
malls has been the rise of non-traditional anchors in all or a portion of the
space vacated by chains that didn’t make it. Fortune points
out that a new wave of stores including Forever 21, H&M, Target and others
have moved into to fill the vacuum.
Malls have also added more movie theaters,
grocery stores, gyms and even hotels to attract more people.
Discussion Questions: Is the long-anticipated rebound of the American mall underway? What factors make you most/least optimistic about malls as retailing destinations?