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(The Atlantic Cities)   The death of the American shopping mall. Watch out for zombies   (theatlanticcities.com) divider line 114
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4899 clicks; posted to Business » on 30 Dec 2012 at 4:30 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-12-30 02:26:44 PM
Good luck to all the shoplifters when they have to go to Amazon.
 
2012-12-30 03:03:25 PM
Why would anyone above the age of 17 miss malls??
 
2012-12-30 03:13:33 PM
Anyone see that documentary about the huge mall in NY, the politics that went into getting it built, and how it divided and ruined the small community?
Fark malls.
 
2012-12-30 03:59:57 PM
I suspect that the growth of online stores will slow somewhat once the US enacts some sort of sales tax reform.  That will remove the 6-9% discount that online stores have by skirting sales tax collection.

Having said that, companies such as Amazon are looking to mechanize their warehouse operations as much as possible.  While there is a high initial up-front cost, they'll become incredibly efficient in the long run.  You just can't achieve those sorts of efficiencies with traditional bricks-and-mortar stores.  And I wouldn't be surprised to see Amazon deploying its own shipping fleet in major metro areas within a few years to assist in its same-day delivery campaign.

But don't people still like to try out clothes before they buy them?  I can see how online stores can dominate in goods such as tools, electronics and other gadgets, but for clothes (which are the bread and butter of malls), not so much.  I say this doubly for women, where clothing sizes from one brand to another vary wildly.
 
2012-12-30 04:39:50 PM
People still go to malls?
 
2012-12-30 04:39:57 PM

bronyaur1: Why would anyone above the age of 17 miss malls??


I miss the arcades inside of some malls. Does that count?
 
2012-12-30 04:40:53 PM
Here is a fun little site that documents the various abandoned malls across the US.

deadmalls.com
 
2012-12-30 04:43:58 PM
Why go to a mall since there are no new Oldsmobiles?
 
2012-12-30 04:47:12 PM

Dinjiin: But don't people still like to try out clothes before they buy them?  I can see how online stores can dominate in goods such as tools, electronics and other gadgets, but for clothes (which are the bread and butter of malls), not so much.  I say this doubly for women, where clothing sizes from one brand to another vary wildly.


Don't be so sure about that. My Girlfriend just recently completed an overhaul of her entire work wardrobe, and added some non-work outfits as well, and she did it all shopping online. She sent several items back because they didn't fit right, or she didn't like them upon seeing them in person... but she had no problems doing that - just pack them back up and ship them out. Over about six weeks she spent a good $2,500+ on clothes and shoes, without getting a single item in person at a retail store. And I must say, she got some really nice outfits and shoes for her efforts.

The only advantage that I can see that a trip to the mall would have provided would have been to get everything quicker, but probably from a smaller selection (limited to items on hand in the stores).

So yeah, I don't think apparel retailing is safe either.
 
2012-12-30 04:50:24 PM
Sad tag? Why?

Malls are horrible miserable places. Worse than laundromats.
 
2012-12-30 04:52:54 PM
I think old malls could be converted into mixed condo housing with small retail interspersed, would create a shirtsleeve environment retirement village with everything you need in walkable/wheelchair-reachable access. You could add a small college branch there and have a multigenerational attraction where retail was in the mix, but not the main attractor.
 
2012-12-30 04:59:08 PM

Any Pie Left: I think old malls could be converted into mixed condo housing


I sincerely doubt they're structurally fit for that kind of thing. They definitely don't have the utilities for it. It'd probably be cheaper to tear it down than convert it.
 
2012-12-30 05:03:06 PM
*TheGonk*
 
2012-12-30 05:04:07 PM
My office is across the street from a mall, and I hate the location. The traffic is always a nightmare. Our malls here are consistently crowded. We get a lot of shoppers that come north from Mexico to stock up on goods, so the stores here do pretty well. You'll hear very little English at three of our four malls - or any of our Walmarts for that matter!

I only go to the mall for the movie theater. The only IMAX we have is in a mall.
 
2012-12-30 05:04:11 PM

Spaceman Spiffed: My Girlfriend just recently completed an overhaul of her entire work wardrobe, ... and she did it all shopping online.


What kind of figure does she have?  I've heard that if you have a stick figure, you're somewhat safe, but if you have curves or are overweight, it can be exceedingly hit or miss.

Going off on a tangent, but I would think this is exactly where an online retailer could excel.  Have the customer pull out a measuring tape and perform a ten point inspection.  You could then have clothes that are more custom tailored than say the old generic "size 6" since you have the warehouse space to keep more specialized sizes.  What we consider semi-custom today could become the new norm.
 
2012-12-30 05:05:04 PM
Pictured: The Eaton Centre, Toronto, Canada.
 
2012-12-30 05:12:44 PM

t3knomanser: Any Pie Left: I think old malls could be converted into mixed condo housing

I sincerely doubt they're structurally fit for that kind of thing. They definitely don't have the utilities for it. It'd probably be cheaper to tear it down than convert it.


RackSpace moved their hdq into an abandoned mall outside of San Antonio.
 
2012-12-30 05:13:45 PM
As far as the clothes, I believe most clothing and shoe stores online have very good return policies (thinking of places like zappos.com, etc)... free shipping, no hassle returns, basically because of the reasons you stated.... an online clothing store has to act as a place you are "trying things on from home" essentially, so, they have to know they are going to get people probably returning 50% (or more) of what they are looking at.

As far as malls (and any other B&M store)... I think the stores need to "reinvent" themselves... come up with different reasons why you would go to their store instead of buying the same item online.   Not claiming I know exactly what those are, other than things like actually very "knowledgeable" people about whatever you are selling.... frequent buyer programs that get a steady and loyal clientele to return, carry some items that are not 'common' (yes, that goes against the usual thing that you don't want to waste valuable 'space' at a B&M with things that won't sell 'easily', but, you need some 'unusual' things to bring in people to go "well, ABC might have it").
 
2012-12-30 05:18:10 PM

HempHead: t3knomanser: Any Pie Left: I think old malls could be converted into mixed condo housing

I sincerely doubt they're structurally fit for that kind of thing. They definitely don't have the utilities for it. It'd probably be cheaper to tear it down than convert it.

RackSpace moved their hdq into an abandoned mall outside of San Antonio.


And it's really well done.
 
2012-12-30 05:22:23 PM

NeoCortex42: bronyaur1: Why would anyone above the age of 17 miss malls??

I miss the arcades inside of some malls. Does that count?


fark yeah, I remember those. It was 1983, mom gave me $5 for quarters and I would spend hours in that place. Goddamn I miss the '80s.
 
2012-12-30 05:23:00 PM
CompUSA should not be used as a metric for this sort of thing. CompUSA was mismanaged into non-existence.
 
2012-12-30 05:29:34 PM

NeoCortex42: I miss the arcades inside of some malls. Does that count?


people still go to arcades?
 
2012-12-30 05:30:27 PM

Dinjiin: What kind of figure does she have?  I've heard that if you have a stick figure, you're somewhat safe, but if you have curves or are overweight, it can be exceedingly hit or miss.

Going off on a tangent, but I would think this is exactly where an online retailer could excel.  Have the customer pull out a measuring tape and perform a ten point inspection.  You could then have clothes that are more custom tailored than say the old generic "size 6" since you have the warehouse space to keep more specialized sizes.  What we consider semi-custom today could become the new norm.


She's curvy and average - not a candidate for Lane Bryant, but not mistaken for an anorexic teen runway model either. Most of the online stores have reviews that usually indicate if their sizes run small/big/whatever so she had a good idea when ordeing, and ironically most of her returns for wrong sizes were the major retailers like JCpenny.com - places where she would have had the same issue in person.
 
2012-12-30 05:38:15 PM

Spaceman Spiffed: Dinjiin: What kind of figure does she have?  I've heard that if you have a stick figure, you're somewhat safe, but if you have curves or are overweight, it can be exceedingly hit or miss.

Going off on a tangent, but I would think this is exactly where an online retailer could excel.  Have the customer pull out a measuring tape and perform a ten point inspection.  You could then have clothes that are more custom tailored than say the old generic "size 6" since you have the warehouse space to keep more specialized sizes.  What we consider semi-custom today could become the new norm.

She's curvy and average - not a candidate for Lane Bryant, but not mistaken for an anorexic teen runway model either. Most of the online stores have reviews that usually indicate if their sizes run small/big/whatever so she had a good idea when ordeing, and ironically most of her returns for wrong sizes were the major retailers like JCpenny.com - places where she would have had the same issue in person.


I think guys have a distinct advantage to online shopping in that our sizes are, you know, actual measurements. In addition, once we find a brand we know fits, for the price we're willing to pay, we'll usually show tremendous brand loyalty. I recently tried to buy jeans at a brick and mortar mall (JC Penney). I couldn't find the style I wanted in my [average] size. In fact, half the time they look like they're reducing their inventory because they're going out of business. WTF? But I did find what I wanted online for much cheaper direct from the manufacturer. The more times this happens, the less time I'll waste going to the mall.

The one exception I've found is shoes. The fit is highly brand and model dependent; I wouldn't want to buy several pairs online just to size them.
 
2012-12-30 05:44:38 PM

I drunk what: NeoCortex42: I miss the arcades inside of some malls. Does that count?

people still go to arcades?


No, he is saying he misses when arcades in malls were relevant.

So, essentially, he is saying he is missing when he was a geeky teenager. (I am guessing).
 
2012-12-30 05:45:00 PM
The topic of malls being dead has been going on for over a decade now. If they were dead in 2002, why are we still talking about them dying?
 
2012-12-30 05:48:01 PM

Dinjiin: Spaceman Spiffed: My Girlfriend just recently completed an overhaul of her entire work wardrobe, ... and she did it all shopping online.

What kind of figure does she have?  I've heard that if you have a stick figure, you're somewhat safe, but if you have curves or are overweight, it can be exceedingly hit or miss.

Going off on a tangent, but I would think this is exactly where an online retailer could excel.  Have the customer pull out a measuring tape and perform a ten point inspection.  You could then have clothes that are more custom tailored than say the old generic "size 6" since you have the warehouse space to keep more specialized sizes.  What we consider semi-custom today could become the new norm.


As a man with big thighs (overweight yes, but they would be big anyways) I can say that sometimes even in the store two pairs of the same cut by the same brand dont match up.

I wouldn't trust online to get the size right without always over ordering and returning stuff.
 
2012-12-30 05:57:00 PM
Somtow Sucharitkul is sad.
 
2012-12-30 06:03:39 PM

Land Ark: The topic of malls being dead has been going on for over a decade now. If they were dead in 2002, why are we still talking about them dying?


Because people always underestimate how long it'll take things to die.  Yes, malls *will* die.  But you still have millions and millions of people like my parents (in their 70s) who rarely/never shop online.

As well, you have a lot of 40-ish year olds who actually enjoy the experience of shopping in a real store.  (Not me for sure, but I know my 44 year old sister grew up with shopping as a hobby, and still enjoys the experience.  Its a "day out on the town" for her, if that makes sense.)
 
2012-12-30 06:07:05 PM

Dinjiin:

But don't people still like to try out clothes before they buy them?  I can see how online stores can dominate in goods such as tools, electronics and other gadgets, but for clothes (which are the bread and butter of malls), not so much.  I say this doubly for women, where clothing sizes from one brand to another vary wildly.



Nah, my wife buys most of her clothing online these days, the rest comes from local boutiques that are not in malls. Most online retailers provide sizing charts for their clothing, so if you can figure out how those work you're pretty much golden.
 
2012-12-30 06:07:20 PM

Dinjiin: Spaceman Spiffed: My Girlfriend just recently completed an overhaul of her entire work wardrobe, ... and she did it all shopping online.

What kind of figure does she have?


Please include pictures taken from many different angles and in various states of undress as she models this new wardrobe.

/fark malls...hate the places.
 
2012-12-30 06:12:21 PM

dletter: I drunk what: NeoCortex42: I miss the arcades inside of some malls. Does that count?

people still go to arcades?

No, he is saying he misses when arcades in malls were relevant.

So, essentially, he is saying he is missing when he was a geeky teenager. (I am guessing).


If there was a decent arcade near me, I would still go as a geeky thirty something.

Unfortunately, the only arcades I've seen recently are nothing but ticket/prize games.
 
2012-12-30 06:15:36 PM
I used to like going to the mall, because when I was a kid, it was a big deal when we went to the mall. It meant getting fast food for lunch and possibly going to the nearby Toys R Us when we were done shopping. But, nowadays, I can't find much of a reason to go to the mall. They all have the same stores and most of them don't have anything I'm interested in.
 
2012-12-30 06:17:29 PM

NeoCortex42: dletter: I drunk what: NeoCortex42: I miss the arcades inside of some malls. Does that count?

people still go to arcades?

No, he is saying he misses when arcades in malls were relevant.

So, essentially, he is saying he is missing when he was a geeky teenager. (I am guessing).

If there was a decent arcade near me, I would still go as a geeky thirty something.

Unfortunately, the only arcades I've seen recently are nothing but ticket/prize games.


Bar-arcades are starting to become a thing. My town has one. It's a little bar with a bunch of older arcade games (and a MAME cabinet). It's kinda fun to have a drink while playing games you used to play as a kid.
 
2012-12-30 06:32:30 PM

dletter: I drunk what: NeoCortex42: I miss the arcades inside of some malls. Does that count?

people still go to arcades?

No, he is saying he misses when arcades in malls were relevant.

So, essentially, he is saying he is missing when he was a geeky teenager. (I am guessing).


The local now-dead mall had the "Addams Family" pinball game, and that was in the mid-90s.

Also, deadmalls.com needs to update the Hunt Valley Mall in MD. The old mall has given away to a new "outdoor" mall next to a light rail station. I'd call that alive.
 
2012-12-30 07:04:06 PM
Serves 'em right, after what they did to the American "downtown."

In the small town where I grew up, the strip malls on Western had been busy turning downtown into a desert for decades, and my Dad used to say that "if they ever get that mall built out by the interstate like they've been trying for the last ten years, they might as well just close up downtown." (Asterisk: the mall did get built, but by then the downtown shopping district had reinvented itself as a niche shopping environment, with head shops, galleries, music stores, comic shops, and other one-on-one experiences designed to appeal to the high-schoolers who went to the school just across the river. Now it's Western Avenue that's suffering.)

I went to college in a "big city" whose downtown had been utterly decimated by the rise of a massive shopping mall one town over. Again, "downtown" managed to reinvent itself, though I have no idea how so many restaurants can survive so close together. The irony (is that the right word?) is that "downtown" had itself decimated the previous "downtown," closer to the waterfront, which had turned into a sewer of crappy bars and strip clubs when the commercial centers moved to Main Street.

So now malls are crying because shopping has shifted again? Eh, cry me a river, build a bridge, and get over it. And actually, there are very few malls in this state, and they're doing pretty well, though the massive out-of-state conglomerates that own them aren't doing all that hot...
 
2012-12-30 07:10:50 PM
cdn.bleacherreport.net

RIP Murtin Mall
 
2012-12-30 07:11:55 PM

shinji3i: People still go to malls?


aren't you edgy
 
2012-12-30 07:16:32 PM

JerkyMeat: Anyone see that documentary about the huge mall in NY, the politics that went into getting it built, and how it divided and ruined the small community?
Fark malls.


I should watch that, since I grew up right around there.

The description I read online is a little misleading. Rockland County is the smallest (in land area) county in the state, but that makes it sound like some tiny backwater area. It's 300,000+ people and pretty dense suburb.

The description also talks about how the Palisades Mall destroyed the town of West Nyack. That's iffy. All the towns here are pretty much on top of each other, and the mall's had a pretty disastrous impact on a lot of parts of the county, but West Nyack wasn't much of a commercial area to begin with.

The mall's absolutely hideous, and a problem for a number of reasons, but the documentary makes it sound like the mall killed off one quiet, isolated town, rather than killed off a bunch of different spots in a large connected suburb.
 
2012-12-30 08:01:18 PM

Smackledorfer: As a man with big thighs (overweight yes, but they would be big anyways) I can say that sometimes even in the store two pairs of the same cut by the same brand dont match up.


Same here. Slightly overweight, large thighs (even when underweight). I eventually came to really like the fit of Lucky Brand 181 jeans specifically because of how they fit me in the upper leg. My wife also likes how my ass looks in them, which she says no pair of Levis could ever do justice.

Problem is, Lucky jeans are all cut by hand, so no two are alike. That makes ordering them via the mail impossible. On a good note, my instream is between sizes, so I can grab a half dozen of their jeans, lay them on the counter and pick the perfect length. It is a PITA, but their jeans last me a few years, so it is an unoccasional bother at most.
 
2012-12-30 08:20:46 PM

dletter: As far as the clothes, I believe most clothing and shoe stores online have very good return policies (thinking of places like zappos.com, etc)... free shipping, no hassle returns, basically because of the reasons you stated.... an online clothing store has to act as a place you are "trying things on from home" essentially, so, they have to know they are going to get people probably returning 50% (or more) of what they are looking at.


That's definitely helpful, but it's not going to do much for those who don't have the credit to float several pairs of shoes for a week.
 
2012-12-30 08:22:31 PM
Malls may be dead in parts of the country, and sure there are some malls in the Houston area that have taken a nose dive (deadmalls.com has most of them), but there are plenty of malls doing very well here and other parts of the country...
Baybrook is consistently the top mall in the greater Houston area every year (Galleria may have the high end stores, but Baybrook is 100-110% capacity from Black Friday to December 24th every single year.
Even the new "outlet" 6 miles south didn't do anything to the sales this year..
I dont buy clothes online... the once or twice I have, I regretted it. I prefer to try shoes on (I have a Size 10 foot, but wear 9's in some shoes, 9.5 in other brands, solid 10's in other brands)
Electronics, yeah online... any larger purchase, I am going in the store... Toys... in store (Lego, Build a Bear, etc)..
I buy very few things online... I prefer to have them in my hand right away.

/My "splurge" purchases are Coach, but I buy outlet, so buy those online... easier then cramming into the store at the new outlet...
 
2012-12-30 08:24:19 PM
I was hoping for an indoor/outdoor discussion. That's going to have a huge impact. My city was at 3 indoor malls back in the 90s and is now at 1 indoor mall and 1 "outdoor" mall.

/an "oudoor" mall is one where the big stores aren't connected to other stores (maybe they share a wall with something else but not a door) and all the small stores have an outdoor entrance only, usually in strip mall concept that tries to emulate a village or downtown experience
 
2012-12-30 08:29:38 PM

12349876: I was hoping for an indoor/outdoor discussion. That's going to have a huge impact. My city was at 3 indoor malls back in the 90s and is now at 1 indoor mall and 1 "outdoor" mall.

/an "oudoor" mall is one where the big stores aren't connected to other stores (maybe they share a wall with something else but not a door) and all the small stores have an outdoor entrance only, usually in strip mall concept that tries to emulate a village or downtown experience


I like outdoor malls. We had a mall in Houston, Town and Country... high end, etc... They opened a "village" outside and that was the beginning of the end of the mall itself.. I worked at the mall during the death rattles (I worked for Structure (Express Men)... we averaged $100 a day, and the Express across the hall averaged $200 a day...) the mall would not allow Express to move their stores outside to the village.. all we saw were mall walkers. The stores would run on 1 person all day... If one of us had to go to the bathroom or run to grab a pretzel, the other would stand in the middle of the mall to watch both stores... that really sucked...
there is a new one in Pearland that is not so bad...
 
2012-12-30 08:33:54 PM
I think I'd actually frequent our local shopping mall more often (even if I'm not in the "demographic" that most of these places court) if they:

1. Stopped setting up kiosks in the causeways where obnoxious women with clipboards want to ask you questions, trying to shill some crap they're selling.
2. Banned the emo kids who truly aren't emos but patently obvious wannabes trying to show off.
3. Got rid of the Abercromie & Fitch store that pumps the obnoxious metrosexual cologne fifty yards from their entrance and cranks up the crappy house music that wasn't popular when it was brand new.
4. Put in an arcade and a bar. Ours got rid of both many years ago and the closest we have is a Ruby Tuesdays, which doesn't count.

There's more I'm sure, but I think it's a good start...

/Lawn...off....
 
2012-12-30 08:40:37 PM

JerkyMeat: Anyone see that documentary about the huge mall in NY, the politics that went into getting it built, and how it divided and ruined the small community?
Fark malls.


If it only takes a mall to ruin your community, it wasn't much of a community to begin with.
 
2012-12-30 08:40:51 PM
Malls are dying because people don't have time, or money, to leisurely stroll around a giant maze of coffee shops smashed in between boutique stores selling almost the same shiat with a different name, with giant old-people "anchor" stores on the ends. There is an open-air shopping plaza in the town next to mine that seems to do well...people can get in and get out quickly.

\Haven't been to a mall in 3 or 4 years...was in college and needed a DV Tape and the only place I could get to was Sears on the free bus.
\I'm a guy, so malls being fun disappeared when all the "cool" stores were replaced with hipster clothing boutiques. The fanciest place I get clothing from is Old Navy, or sometimes Kohl's. There is nothing in a mall I want or need, or can't get somewhere closer to my home.
r77bpro.files.wordpress.com
 
zez
2012-12-30 08:43:08 PM
In the article the author states that he only buys his eyeglasses from an online store.

First of all, how often do people buy glasses? and the other is how do you have any idea if they are comfortable or work with your face? It's not like pants where you can put on a belt and very minor changes in color can make all the difference.
 
2012-12-30 08:48:24 PM

bronyaur1: Why would anyone above the age of 17 miss malls??


For clothes.

Sizing for clothes is very very approximate. Buying online, I only end up liking 25% of what I buy but the positive of online buying is that I get fancy brands cheaper.

The ones I buy at the mall I buy because I need it and I buy the store brand, or I really like or it's really low clearance price.

Sometime in the future, maybe we can scan our body into a 3d model and use that online to see how the clothes look.
 
zez
2012-12-30 08:52:43 PM

12349876: I was hoping for an indoor/outdoor discussion. That's going to have a huge impact. My city was at 3 indoor malls back in the 90s and is now at 1 indoor mall and 1 "outdoor" mall.

/an "oudoor" mall is one where the big stores aren't connected to other stores (maybe they share a wall with something else but not a door) and all the small stores have an outdoor entrance only, usually in strip mall concept that tries to emulate a village or downtown experience


There was an outdoor in mall in St. Louis that in the 70's was the largest shopping center in the world. I loved Christmas shopping there as a child because you had to go out in the snow and cold between stores so you really felt like it was Christmastime. In the 80's they put a roof over it and that was pretty much the beginning of the end. I read the other day that they are starting to tear the whole thing down. It's a shame, as an outdoor mall it was beautifully designed.
 
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