Malls Transition to Accommodate Changing Patterns
As traditional mall anchors re-trench, shopping centers aren’t taking the changes quietly. Many are transitioning from traditional shopping malls to multi-use entertainment complexes. They will still be places to shop, no doubt, but instead of just dinner and a movie, you can go off on adventures, exercise, or even live. In a recent report in the Chicago Tribune, real estate strategist Suzanne Mulvee noted that “going out for dinner and a movie or a round of bowling is harder to replace online than shopping.”
Malls with a Ride or Two Become Theme Parks with Some Shopping
“Give the people what they want.” Your humble newsletter editor has heard that said somewhere before. Malls that were shopping havens in years past are working very hard to maintain foot traffic, since their core consumers have been increasingly shopping online in the past decade or so. The Los Angeles real estate publication, The Real Deal, reported recently how mall owners are “counting on entertainment and social experiences to draw in customers for high-end retailers and justify the soaring lease rates.” A&G Realty Partners’ Peter Lynch told TRD that he expects the trend of shopping malls integrating with mixed-use complexes to continue over the next decade. “The most successful will be those that are extraordinarily sophisticated and ready to spend capital to build an omnichannel experience for the customer,” he said.
When malls first started dotting the landscape, they were billed as places at which you can buy anything and everything you needed. Something for mom, something for dad, something for the kids, something for co-workers or friends. You could buy anything, conveniently, all in one place, and even get a meal or see a movie while you’re there. Research has shown that millennials and Baby Boomers are starting to covet experiences over things. According to Real Estate Weekly, major retailers are moving full steam ahead with plans to combine more lifestyle in the shopping experience. “A wine store becomes a source for entertainment ideas. A hair salon becomes a place for relaxation and “me time.” The wine store offers samplings from local caterers on Friday evenings. The nail salon has a free mini-massage day. This is re-invention at its best,” as Real Estate Weekly published in an opinion piece.
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