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The State of Malls in America

The commercial real estate bust of the past decade and the growing volume of online buying have some pundits predicting the failure of malls. The numbers tell another story. Though some malls struggle and others have closed, most are doing rather well. Even little New Towne Mall in New Philadelphia OH finds double-digit sales and traffic growth over 2014, according to their general manager. People are shopping.

The world’s largest mall – Mall of America – hosts over 40 million visitors annually and finds rents growing as demand for retail space remains strong. According to research by JC Decaux, 75% of Americans visit a mall at least once a month. Eighty-one percent of shoppers prefer to shop with others – it’s a social occasion – and spend on average almost $4,000 per year. Luxury malls are especially effective, averaging $842 in purchases per trip, versus $78 for more common malls.

We see new formats and pop-up stores happening in malls, too. Yes, some stores fail to remain relevant to mall shoppers and others fail to find an audience but malls remain vibrant, effective and attractive destinations for shoppers. As the world’s middle class keeps growing, malls will grow to meet their needs worldwide. As technology allows stores and brands to even better serve their clientele with personalized services, e.g., your name and most recent purchases pop up on the service person’s iPad when you cross the threshold, we can expect malls to keep growing – and you to keep going to them.