Shoppers Going Back to the Mall

Discussion
Feb 18, 2005
George Anderson

By George Anderson


New numbers from the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) and anecdotal information from mall operators and retailers suggest that Americans are going back to the mall to shop.


According to the ICSC, shopping centers experienced a 4.2 percent increase in sales per square foot last year. It was the biggest jump using sales per square foot as a benchmark in 11 years.


ICSC spokesperson, Patrice Duker, said, “This shows consumers have successfully broken out of that conservative shopping pattern. For a couple years, it seemed like people weren’t going to malls as much. Now it looks like it’s a format people are returning to.”


According to the ISCS, the numbers show that shopping centers in the Western U.S. did particularly well, with a 7.1 percent increase in sales per square foot in 2004. Malls in the South saw sales per foot increase by 5 percent, the Northeast 3 percent and those in the Midwest were up 2.1 percent.


Janet LaFevre, director of marketing at the Glendale Galleria in Southern California, told the L.A. Daily News the facility there saw sales per square foot increase nearly 10 percent last year. “We absolutely had a banner year in 2004,” she said.


Moderator’s Comment: Are consumers going back to the mall to shop? What must malls do to achieve continued success?
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6 Comments on "Shoppers Going Back to the Mall"


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M. Jericho Banks PhD
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M. Jericho Banks PhD
15 years 9 months ago

I’ll believe that consumers are returning to malls when someone explains to me where these shoppers are coming FROM. What shopping venues are experiencing the kinds of traffic and sales declines that would account for the increases claimed by the ISCS?

Until then, one might speculate that influences like high gas prices and extreme rainfall in the areas specified by the ISCS may have encouraged less driving and more time spent inside — hence, a mall.

Art Williams
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Art Williams
15 years 9 months ago

It sounds like some major recycling starting to take place in mall real estate where the original occupants have fallen on hard times. Wal-Mart can definitely bring traffic and customer count back to the area, at least for themselves and for non-competitors. That makes you wonder how much room Wal-Mart leaves for others? They are continually branching out and getting into more areas as they continue their relentless growth.

Len Lewis
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Len Lewis
15 years 9 months ago

David is quite correct. I’ve seen it in the New York area where Wal-Mart is taking space in major malls right next to Sears. Guess where the traffic is?

However, let’s take all this with a grain of salt. What else would you expect the International Council of Shopping Centers to say? On the other hand, you may have to redefine the term mall. What’s coming back are the so-called “strip malls” that first appeared in the 1950s then fell out of favor. They are being refurbished, expanded and now are being called community centers or community malls by some real estate people. Shoppers love them because they are easy to get in and out of. Retailers love them because the rents are lower and real estate investment companies are snapping up these properties.

David Livingston
Guest
15 years 9 months ago

I just read yesterday that a Wal-Mart Supercenter is opening in the old Lakehurst Mall in Waukegan, Illinois. Getting a Wal-Mart Supercenter to open in your mall is a sure fire way to get shoppers to come back. I’ve seen Wal-Mart moving into malls around the country which might be one reason sales are going up.

Bernice Hurst
Guest
15 years 9 months ago
Here’s an anecdotal UK perspective about what attracts shoppers to a mall and what doesn’t. In the shopping town nearest to where I live, which has a pretty big and demographically mixed catchment area, we now have three malls. One has become so totally unsuccessful in the past few years that it emptied out almost immediately after its last refurbishment and is now scheduled for change into a mixed use (retail, office, residential) complex. Another, which was the town’s first and built almost 30 years ago, has also been refurbished several times and is occupied by a range of independent stores, only one of which has been there since the beginning. Its latest incarnation is full of tacky, shabby goods that would only attract the least affluent shopper. Even its food court is full of second rate fast food i.e. burgers, pizza and baked potatoes but none of the big names. I walked through recently and it was pretty much deserted. Now for the biggie – literally – which has virtually taken over the town… Read more »
EDWARD COLLINS
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EDWARD COLLINS
14 years 7 months ago

In response to Mr. Livingston. The Lakehurst Mall was DEMOLISHED in 2005 right around the time sole anchor, CARSON PIRIE SCOTT, left or was forced to leave the vacant mall. Currently there are new businesses growing around the corridor, but it looks like the entire property around the former Lakehurst Mall will be exclusively a Wal-Mart Supercenter. There is interest in the area, but I am unsure that too many retailers are even attracted to the location. I thought they should have gone more upscale with the choice of retailers.

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