Well, we made it through Black Friday and the holiday weekend – people clamoring to buy that perfect NFL or collegiate team gift! Whether it be the ever-popular plush throw or the newly sought after team totem pole, we had it and people purchased it!
Why, then, do I sit here today (and the past three days) and witness a very sparse shopping crew? As Bill commented, “I could take a bowling ball and throw it down the center of the mall and virtually hit no one!” While that might be a slight exaggeration, it’s really not far from the truth!
On Black Friday, when the mall was bustling, one customer commented, ‘This is how busy the mall used to be every day!” So, what has happened to our traditional brick-and-mortar shopping malls?
Just a few ideas…
- The meteoric rise of online shopping
- A plethora of “outlet” malls throughout the country
- The bankruptcies and/or closings of anchor department stores such as Sears, J.C. Penney, and Macy’s. ( In our three weeks here in Naples, Sears has totally closed its doors!) Such closures tend to affect the smaller businesses located near the anchors. (Women aren’t even buying shoes!)
So, who are we still seeing at the mall? My study – granted, not a documented or professional one – indicates the following groups are still shopping at the mall.
- Seniors – When they’re not “mall walking,” they are shopping. Perhaps their level of tech competency has something to do with that. They prefer the brick-and-mortar experience rather than e-commerce.
- Teenagers – For this group the mall seems to be more of a social opportunity although I have encountered more teens than you can imagine with credit cards…and they’re using them!
- Moms with kids in strollers – Not sure of the amount they are spending, but it sure is refreshing to get out of the house!
- Entire families – Whereas in my younger life we often went on a “Sunday drive,” it appears that on any given day, families – and often extended families – are opting for the mall!
- And remember…Santa’s in town so everyone is stopping by! We have “Pet Night,” “Grandparent Night,” “PJ NIght,” and the always fun “Ugly Sweater Night!”
According to one report, there are presently only 1200 traditional malls left in the United States with a prediction of only 900 remaining within the next decade.
So, while the future of malls as we know them may seem in danger, something tells me people will never stop spending money – whether they have it or not! Long live the mall!
**As a side note – the temperature today (and yesterday) in Naples, Florida, is forecasted to barely reach the 70’s. While Bill and I find it rather refreshing, today’s wardrobe highlights include puffy down jackets, boots and sweaters, and a retail surge in our sports team caps, scarves, and gloves! Really?
Stay Calm and Travel On…