Shopping malls have been on the decline for years and Covid and the boom of holiday online nailed a few more nails in their coffin. Lock-downs plus the explosion of online sales means bad news for shopping malls. University of Houston Retailing and Consumer-Science expert Dr. Barbara Stewart says not all will fail. "The strong malls are agile, Their retailers are flexible and innovative, and although online sales have just exploded, the brick and mortar store still account for 70% of consumer goods purchased."
Many mall anchor stores (Macy's, Dillard's, etc) are closing locations. "About 30% of mall square footage is in anchor stores. At least half have not been expected to make it through the next 5 years. We have just escalated that through the pandemic," she says. Adding to the mall demise is the temporary shutdown of movie theaters, gyms and restaurants. But Dr. Stewart says strong malls are innovative and will be around for a long while. Dr. Stewart says the future of retail isn't dark. "In 2021, more stores are projected to open than close!" She says online was stronger than brick and mortar but overall retail was strong over the holidays.