Malls May ‘Change’ in Time for the Holidays – Globe St. | Directory Mayhem

According to a report by Placer.ai this week, September presented an opportunity for malls to take a significant step forward with signs that some of the economic headwinds are dissipating.

However, there is still some catching up to do, the data analytics firm said, as visits to malls of various types show “resilience”.

In September visits to indoor malls decreased by 0.9%, OALCs by 1.8% and outlet malls by 4.5% compared to 2021.

For indoor and outlet malls, these numbers are improvements compared to July and August.

“But gaps remain,” says the report. “While the numbers aren’t bad compared to last year, a comparison to 2019 leaves a lot to be desired.”

Placer.ai reported that visits to indoor malls decreased by 10.1%, OALCs by 10.2%, and outlet malls by 11.3% in September compared to 2019.

A week in September portends optimism

But traffic is improving lately. Looking at the weekly data, visits are increasing from the week of September 19th.

Compared to the previous week, visits to indoor malls increased by 2.6%, OALCs by 1.7% and outlet malls by 2.5% – a good sign as the holiday season approaches.

At Simon Malls, Laura Schwartz, Regional Vice President, GlobeSt.com shares that her company continues to invest in its properties, attracting new retailers, adding additional product types and nurturing our properties.

“We’ve seen particularly heavy traffic in centers like the Burlington Mall and Northshore in the Boston market, which have recently undergone major redevelopments,” Schwartz said.

Preserve your heart and soul

Doug Ressler, manager, business intelligence, tells GlobeSt.com that malls have been defined as “the heart and soul of communities” and have come under severe pressure from the rise of e-commerce and other forces.

“Personal shopper providers are using technology to help their customers leverage the new offering of shopping experiences before, during and after a visit,” said Ressler.

Tech-driven experiences include or will include:

  • Interactive kiosks that deliver product information and promotional messages;
  • Smart touchscreens that could help shoppers stay in stores longer and buy more;
  • Interactive signposts to help shoppers collect items purchased through BOPIS (buy online, collect in store);
  • Systems combining digital signage and IoT sensors for queue management and emergency notifications;
  • Large digital video walls delivering news, weather, ads and other content;
  • Augmented and virtual reality technology that allows customers to test products digitally.

Moody’s: Shopping centers must ‘dynamically serve consumers’ in the digital age

According to Moody’s report The Mall of the Future: How regional malls will survive a rapidly changing retail industry Issued on September 1, malls will need to overhaul their business models and tenant mix to survive.

It’s starting to “dynamically serve the consumers of the digital age,” though brick-and-mortar stores will continue to be an important part of retailers’ strategies.

“This is especially true for regional malls, as the traditional mall is most directly separated from e-commerce of the brick-and-mortar property types,” Moody’s said.

Regional malls will continue to exist — and many estimate that about one in five of the more than 1,000 U.S. malls will remain a mall, Moody’s said — but the “mall of the future” will have a variety of attractions beyond traditional anchors walk out of department stores.

According to the report, implementing an “omnichannel” strategy is now critical, not optional.

Online sales as a percentage of total U.S. sales will continue to grow, but a large majority of retail sales will still be in physical stores, Moody’s said.

“Even where online sales are crowding out in-store sales, e-commerce is becoming less cannibalistic and more integrated into a holistic retail approach,” the report states. “This involves integrating the traditionally siled roles of sales, marketing, customer service and inventory management across all digital and physical channels to achieve efficiencies and engage with customers by any means.”

Shifting the business model for regional shopping centers

Successful mall operators will aim to increase rents and foot traffic beyond the traditional anchor store model. To do this, according to the Moody’s report, she has to think about the use of primary spaces.

“The limited number of traditional retailers available to fill shopping center vacancies, particularly large anchor areas, means landlords must be prepared to target specific national retailers, entertainment companies, sporting goods, high-volume restaurants or a mix of alternative uses such as logistics, housing, medical practice or service-based retail,” it said.

According to Moody’s, shorter lease terms and contingency regulations for shopping center performance are forcing landlords to share more in their tenants’ risks.

“Some malls will fail because operators don’t have the capital (or choose not to provide it) to undertake the necessary reformatting. All of this makes it increasingly important to have a sophisticated, well capitalized mall operator to survive in the rapidly changing retail world.”

Give what online shopping can’t give you

Wickham Zimmerman, CEO of Outside the Lines, told GlobeSt.com it’s not surprising that malls are seeing a resurgence after the public has been spending so much time at home for the past 2.5+ years.

“The desire to reconnect with the world around her and return to a more ‘normal’ way of life is palpable,” Zimmerman said. “As consumers seek experiences they’ve been missing all these months, retail center owners and operators must provide environments that offer what people can’t get when shopping online.

“A key part of these environments are amenities like outdoor water features that attract visitors, provide dazzling and beautiful displays, and help increase foot traffic for these venues.

“With the holidays approaching, water features in retail centers can showcase spectacular Christmassy shows, lighting and effects that captivate shoppers and make these centers veritable destinations for locals and visitors alike. Adding water features will have a positive impact on retail sales, increase property values ​​and provide a safe place for people to gather in the post-COVID era.”

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