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Old 07-07-2017, 04:39 PM   #1
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Malls

Today's news... our Sears store is closing in October. Penneys will close this month. Our mall, which is very modern and very well maintained, will now be down to one anchor. As recent as 5 years ago, there were 90 stores... today, there are 40 ... still including Sears and Penneys.

The handwriting is on the wall... Except for select metro and upscale communities, malls are on the way out.

Pretty easy to understand, if you have a background in retailing. The cost of supplying dozens, hundreds and thousands of stores with merchandise that the customer wants to take home today, is just not sustainable in 2017. Imagine having to stock 50 ladies bathing suits in sizes and color... in just one model.
Think of the economies of scale for Amazon... that can stock 300 of the same bathing suit... and service 5,000 towns.

Enough... Today's question for you, is "How is your local mall doing?"

As the world around us changes, so too, can we look for changes in society as a whole. Malls, as a place to go, has become a big part of our lives, and in the lives of our children. In our mall alone, there are physical fitness classes twice a week, sponsored by our local hospital. It's a hangout place for kids. There is an indoor playground for little kids, and three or four groups that hold weekly or monthly meetings on things like investing, small business, general health, and community issues.

Does all the business go to Amazon? No... We have a free standing Walmart, that operates on an Amazon-like online order/pickup as well as the full lines store. The downtown continues to offer specialty stores... privately owned and managed. Mostly mom and pop stores that have been around for decades, but still well supported by local residents.

Along with Walmart... (on the outskirts of town) there are businesses like Pet smart, Kohls, and numerous sporting goods stores and "dollar" stores, Target, Home Depot, as well as the usual phone stores and mainline restaurants, so our community is not devoid of services.

It's just changed... no more the indoor mall center, for walkers, for browsing... for wandering in and out, just to look.

Care to share what's happening with malls in your area?
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Old 07-07-2017, 04:58 PM   #2
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I will actually have to go look, as my last visit to the mall, Macy's and Sears, was eleven years ago. No one in my social circles: pet therapy, church , and fellow mega corp retiree social gatherings, ever talk about the visiting the mall anymore. Our mall is only about four miles from my home, and I am routinely at places all around it, like Walmart, Petco, restaurants. I guess the closet Ive been was a Longhorn in a small strip mall within a few hundred yards of the mall about two months ago. So I could see that the anchors, Sears, Penney's Macy's and Nordstrom's were all still there at least. The parking lots I could see were about half full on a Friday at lunch time. Even eleven years ago, the products, apart from Sears seemed to be catering more and more to a younger crowd: clothes I could no longer fit in and mostly would not want anyway, more jewelry and other overpriced trinkets, etc. Or specialty stores, like for babies, that I would only visit to get a gift and I could do that more effectively online anyway. So it was really not worth the hassle of parking and long walks and such even then.
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Old 07-07-2017, 05:09 PM   #3
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I never visit the ones nearby so I can't tell you about those.

I do get dragged to Merle Hay Mall in Des Moines by my 3-year old granddaughter. What's sad is that we spend almost zero money there. They have coin-operated kid-size vehicles (bus, ice cream truck, helicopter, etc.) but she doesn't want me to put money in them. She just wants to climb in and out of them and talk about them. Fine with me. Clothes shopping doesn't interest me and I don't buy cosmetics or perfume, so I have little interest in the merchandise around me. She's well-supplied with toys and clothing so I feel no need to add to that. Most of the people around us seem to be senior citizen mall walkers. We do eat at the Pizza Hut in the Target store that's part of the complex and she's decided she likes the cake pops at Starbucks.

Definitely wouldn't want to buy stock in that place.
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Old 07-07-2017, 05:17 PM   #4
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I think the writing was on the wall for malls a decade(s) ago. It's just that they've been able to hold on for so long that it seems like it's all happening just now. I haven't hung out at or around a mall since I was 14 (42 years ago) going to the arcade. I've never shopped at many of the stores except for the anchor stores (Macy's, JC Penny, Sears) and a few specialty stores. This really had nothing to do with Amazon and everything to do with overpriced junk at most of the stores. Before the internet, it was harder to comparison shop, but DW and I did and we never ended up at the mall - except for the anchors. Macy's and JC Penny generally have good clothes at a good price when they run sales and Sears used to be our go to for appliances but Best Buy took over that space. Of course, the internet and Amazon were probably the straw that broke the camels back and I do most of my non-clothing, non-food shopping on the internet. Best Buy will still end up doing pretty well for electronics. They also have done well integrating their brick and mortar with their internet presence.

In the "what happened to the mall" question, don't forget Walmart and the great recession. People in the middle class got hit hard and shop more for what they need at the cost they can afford. That's not the typical mall store market.
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Old 07-07-2017, 05:21 PM   #5
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I haven't been to our mall in ten years or more. It's surrounded by restaurants now though. MY DW says she can't find a parking place at the mall when she goes, typically on weekends. On holidays, it's valet parking there. I hear Amazon has a store in the mall. Surprising to me.
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Old 07-07-2017, 05:41 PM   #6
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I rarely go anymore, but it seems like South Coast Plaza and Fashion Island are both doing OK because there are so many people in Orange County and a lot of wealth. But without a doubt they are not as crowded as they were many years ago before Amazon took over.

Whenever I wander through a Macy's it's just downright depressing to look around. The stores look worn, the merchandise is tired and the stuff is really overpriced. The days of spending $200 at Macy's on a set of bed sheets are over. I just bought a set today from Amazon for $25.00. And I bought a dozen pillow cases on Amazon yesterday for $24.00. Try to find a deal like that at Macy's.
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Old 07-07-2017, 05:43 PM   #7
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We were never a mall City. Brooklyn got theirs in 1970 and Queens got theirs in 1973(thank you wiki). I have been to both , I equate it to going to home depot, and Costco. Im on overload. I remember about 15 years ago going "Christmas Shopping" It seemed like a 14 hour day. I was beat. We price shopped, bought, loaded the car, repeated that act a few times. Im all for a bargain, but walking the space is not my thing. Im no longer in the real accumulation stage. If I need/want a nice pair of shoes or anything, Im taking a stroll on the avenue, window shop at a few spots. If I see something, bingo purchase done. No overload. I also enjoyed last years "Christmas shopping" . I sat on the couch looking over the brides shoulder and would give my input on what I thought of the items she wanted to get. "Yeah hon thats nice, BRB Im gonna get another bowl of ice cream you want some?". Yeah thats my idea of a mall now.
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Old 07-07-2017, 05:48 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by imoldernu View Post
Enough... Today's question for you, is "How is your local mall doing?"
I don't really know, since I haven't been in a mall for years.

I hear the enclosed malls in our area aren't doing well. But some of the plazas seem to be thriving. I think the mix of offerings (types of stores, restaurants, other activities) matters.
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Old 07-07-2017, 05:51 PM   #9
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I rarely go anymore, but it seems like South Coast Plaza and Fashion Island are both doing OK because there are so many people in Orange County and a lot of wealth. But without a doubt they are not as crowded as they were many years ago before Amazon took over.

Whenever I wander through a Macy's it's just downright depressing to look around. The stores look worn, the merchandise is tired and the stuff is really overpriced. The days of spending $200 at Macy's on a set of bed sheets are over. I just bought a set today from Amazon for $25.00. And I bought a dozen pillow cases on Amazon yesterday for $24.00. Try to find a deal like that at Macy's.
South Coast Plaza stores filed for bankruptcy during the housing bubble. But now, it's not the same any more when I go there.
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Old 07-07-2017, 05:52 PM   #10
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Our local mall was bought by some developer who promised to invest millions in exchange for some tax breaks. There were a lot of improvements made that are clearly visible from the outside. I haven't been inside the mall in years, but they seem to be doing OK, just judging from the traffic and parking lot. All the anchors are still there at the moment... Sears, Macy's, Dillard's, JC Penney, Barnes & Noble, and Ross. But I expect that will be changing soon. Lots of better retail options are opening up all over the area. And of course Amazon is changing everything. It's a good piece of real estate, so lots of options for reinventing the area... maybe as an Amazon distribution center and Uber hub.
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Old 07-07-2017, 05:58 PM   #11
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I went to the mall today!

I hit Macy's and/or Dillard's once every year or so to get ready for a big trip.

Today the mall was full of adolescents - right, school's out!
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Old 07-07-2017, 06:04 PM   #12
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I never visit the ones nearby so I can't tell you about those.

I do get dragged to Merle Hay Mall in Des Moines by my 3-year old granddaughter. .
I hope the Taco John's is still in the food court. Every time we went to visit my wife's family, that was regular lunch stop. But it has been in decline for over 15 years.
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Old 07-07-2017, 06:15 PM   #13
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Thirty years ago, we went to a mall almost every weekend. Now there's only one left near us, and it's a teen hangout, so I go once a year at most. Brick-n-mortar is going the way of the dodo, mall or otherwise, unless they sell something perishable or it's an item that has to be tried on (shoes IMO). All the others have cut inventory and reduced clerks to try to stay competitive, which hastens and helps, it's a Catch 22. Once stores starting telling me 'we don't have it, but we can order it for you and have it here next week' - I quit going at all. I can order online myself...

There are still some upscale malls around Chicago doing well as the OP noted, but the less than upscale malls are dying or already dead. One day there will be local restaurants and grocery stores (maybe) and Amazon, and that's about it...
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Old 07-07-2017, 06:17 PM   #14
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As others have said, the mall is dying...

When I was young it was a place I would go many times a year... so far this year I went once and it was to go to the Apple store to get DWs Ipad checked... but, it was too long of a wait and we left...

Houston has/had many of them... many have already died and gone to other activities or been torn down and replaced by other real estate...

We usually go to the strip centers for the store we need... the mall was where you would just walk around and 'shop'... we just do not do that anymore.... well, I don't... DW does at times...

BTW, outlet malls seem to be the big thing today... new ones seem to pop up all over the place...
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Old 07-07-2017, 06:50 PM   #15
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I went to the mall for the first time in who-knows-when yesterday, in fact. At the big anchor store I was looking the men's department for some clothes for my trip next month and couldn't find a salesperson to save my life. When I did, she was absolutely zero help but she did tell me I could find more selection on their web site. I silently told myself, "no, I'll be going to Amazon's web site." She then took the shirt I selected off the cheap plastic hanger, balled it up and stuffed it in the bag.

I really do want to patronize brick and mortar stores, but it's hard. I even knowingly paid five dollars more for that shirt, and she gave me fodder for the "pet peeve of the day" thread.
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Old 07-07-2017, 07:07 PM   #16
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Malls are 75% geared towards female shoppers, I have little need for them.
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Old 07-07-2017, 07:20 PM   #17
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We don't have a local mall, and I've only been to a mall once in the past 3 months. I buy everything online except for stuff at big box home improvement stores or hardware stores. Buying online (especially Amazon Prime) is so much easier than going to a mall. I don't see how malls will be able to survive much longer.
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Old 07-07-2017, 07:24 PM   #18
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Last time I went to the mall it was for balance therapy. The therapist told me to go walk around in a visually active place and ride the escalators. Told me to only focus on the farthest walls to intensify my experience.

It was a great treatment for me at the time.
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Old 07-07-2017, 07:33 PM   #19
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A lot of people think that mall shopping involves too much walking....but it doesn't have to:
(The Blues Brothers movie - car chase scene inside a mall )
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Old 07-07-2017, 10:24 PM   #20
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Our malls seem to be doing very well in major centres. In cities with populations less than about 50,000 they may be struggling somewhat.
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