The days of malls are dying.
A dramatic declaration, perhaps, but one that appears to have been acknowledged by Simon Property Group, the company that owns a large majority of the malls in America. Earlier this week, the news broke that Amazon is considering vacant large stores in malls as locations for new fulfillment centers.
Amazon has about 100 fulfillment centers in the U.S., but is looking to expand that number still. Amazon's goal is to increase shipping speed and compete with companies like Target and Walmart, whose e-commerce efforts are aided by the placements of their retail stores. Although fulfillment centers and warehouses are often located in more rural areas, the prime real estate of vacated malls in the heart of populated areas full of customers is proving to be too lucrative of an option to resist.
With a flood of bankruptcies from prominent mall staples in the last few years - stores like Sears, JC Penney, Neiman Marcus, and more - Simon has little choice but to rethink its business model if it wants to keep its properties earning a profit. Malls across the country have attempted to reinvent their buildings in order to draw more crowds by adding new restaurants, theaters, and several other attractions, but it hasn't been successful enough and mall closings are still extremely common.
I personally can't remember the last time I set foot inside a mall - do you? How do you feel about these relics of the 80's and 90's closing and turning into hubs for e-commerce? Personally, I'm torn about whether or not I'd rather see that, or just another large vacant building. What are your thoughts?