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ARE MALLS DEAD IN AMERICA?

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I came of age in the heyday of American mall construction. The first indoor mall was built in 1956 in Edina MN. In July 1970, Belden Village Mall in Canton OH became the largest indoor mall in the world. Mall construction peaked in the 1980s. Though the Mall of America opened in 1992, the bloom was already off the mall rose. Since 2010, only six new malls have been built in the US.

Many factors have driven malls out of favor. Foremost among them: we became over-malled. The pendulum has swung back as some malls have closed and others have shrunk, especially since 2001. And they aren’t done shrinking. The number of dead malls– those with at least 40% vacancy rates – has nearly tripled to 74 since 2006. With mall stalwarts like JC Penney, Sears andRadioShack in trouble, expect to see more contraction of malls in America.

Still, North Americans love to shop and malls will remain popular in many locales with their concentrated shopping, dining & entertainment options. New retailers will keep popping up and existing retailers will keep upping their games to serve people who enjoy the immersive experience of cruising the mall, handling the wares, spending time with friends and family, and getting the instant gratification of making purchases and taking them home.