Will your neighborhood mall close in 2022? | Joel Eisenberg
Several reports point to difficult times for the former faithful.
This article is free from bias and based on company publications and accredited media reports. All information linked in this article is fully attributed to the following outlets: The Los Angeles Times, CNBC.com, Google.com, CBInsights.com, GoBankingRates.com and CBSNews.com.
I received a text message this morning that inspired me to write this article. The text came from a close friend, who had since granted me permission to reproduce it in full:
Malls are selling and disappearing now because everyone is shopping online these days. They say in a few years they will be like Blockbuster (expired and just a memory). I am really worried about what is becoming of this country. Everything is too expensive for anyone to afford. Americans are getting lazy; all the things I grew up with keep disappearing, and nothing is like it used to be. The children don’t even play outside and have fun like in the old days. Everyone is inside and on their smartphones and/or doing something that has to do with “social media”, and that’s literally what this world is all about. Nothing feels the same anymore. Not even vacations. What attracts me the most is that the malls in Westfield are for sale.
In context, my friend has suffered from depression-related issues for many years, and he was explaining to me why he was feeling depressed this morning. Specifically, a Los Angeles-based report published the day before discussed the sale of a series of local malls owned by the same entity.
Clink link for “Westfield Malls Go Up For Sale as US Shoppers Find Other Places to Buy”, written by Roger Vincent and published on April 8. Excerpt from the article: The owner of Westfield malls, familiar to passers-by for decades for their bright red logo signs, plans to sell all of his properties in the United States as pandemic fears have accelerated changes in the way people shop. The Company’s shopping centers in the Los Angeles area include such high-profile properties as Westfield Century City, Westfield Santa Anita in Arcadia and Westfield Topanga & the Village in Warner Center.
That was all it took to trigger my friend. Other uncounted Americans, speaking as longtime fans of the US mall experience (who apparently would suffer a similar fate overseas) are also affected, as a Google search engine query will verify. on this subject.
Let’s explore further.
The State of America’s Malls, 2022
According to an August 2020 Lauren Thomas report from CNBC.com, titled “25% of US malls expected to close within 5 years”. Giving them new life will not be easy,” the situation during what was then considered the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic seemed dire.
From the article: Coresight Research estimates that 25% of the roughly 1,000 U.S. malls will close over the next three to five years as the pandemic accelerates a demise that was already underway before the new virus emerged. The malls most at risk of sinking are categorized as B-, C-, and D-rated malls, which means they generate less sales per square foot than an A mall. up to $1,000 in sales per square foot, for example, while a C+ mall brings in around $320.
However, not much has changed since then. CBInsights.com maintains a regularly updated list of long-time stores — many mall regulars across the country — that are currently out of business. The term that has been popularized since the advent of Covid is “the retail apocalypse”, which is described on the site’s timeline.
See here for the CBInsights page on the subject, and the steadily growing list of retail companies facing bankruptcy.
Without these stores, many malls simply cannot survive.
For another recent article on the subject, see here for “American Malls Getting Radical Facelifts as Pandemic Fades and Department Stores” by Michael George, as published by CBSNews.com.
In his article, George links the so-called “retail apocalypse” problems to an attempt to return to normalcy after the pandemic: Malls struggling to attract shoppers as online shopping continues to grow are ready to experiment. Malls hope to find a new lease of life by adapting to consumers who want more than shopping.
In describing the “facelifts” in his title, George refers to entertainment and sports centers that are also helping to boost shopping mall activity in the United States, which has recently been heavily impacted by e-commerce.
To be clear, malls were losing business before the pandemic, in part because of emerging technologies. An archived October 9, 2020 article by Gabrielle Olya, published by GoBankingRates.com, lists dozens of malls being closed.
See here for the article, “America’s Malls That Fell into Decline,” which offers a historical perspective of malls that have closed over the decades, and why.
Learning from these reasons is what mall owners rely on today.
Thanks for the reading.