The Death Of The Shopping Mall

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Old 04-28-16, 11:35 PM
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The Death Of The Shopping Mall

I know it comes as no surprise to anyone on this forum that shopping malls are all but dead now and those that are still around are barely hanging on except in a few areas of the country.

No one thing killed the malls there were many factors including greed by many of the corporations who owned the enclosed malls. Then too there were big stores that went bankrupt leaving empty stores and sometimes no way to rent the space as the mall owners may not have owned the store property that went bankrupt.

Then there was crime too and theft from stores along with murders and other types of crime. Political forces were to blame too as some of the struggling malls would ask for help but none would come. Of course in some cases you can't blame the government because who wants to throw good money after bad.

I saw a link to this website about dead malls on Facebook and thought it would make for interesting conversation here is the link DeadMalls.com: Stories. I know best about the malls in Maryland and I can fill in more details about some of the malls. Some have died inside but are open outside now as the trend now seems to be for outside malls.

I say it is about time myself that more outside malls were built and the inside malls were closed as the inside malls are crime magnets in my opinion. What is your opinion?
 
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Old 04-29-16, 03:14 AM
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Personally I don't care much for malls but then I don't care much for random shopping either

There is a mall in a nearby town that was sold about 20 yrs ago for about 20 million, resold 5 yrs ago for 12 million and recently auctioned off for 1.2 million. I told my wife we might be able to afford to buy it in another 10 yrs or so Best I can tell that particular mall is well maintained although it has lost a couple of big name retailers in the last few years.
 
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Old 04-29-16, 04:10 AM
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I'll be chastised, but malls were built for women. Basically women "shop", whereas men "buy". I know what I want before I leave, know which store has it, know which shelf it is on, walk in pick it up and buy it. Total 10 minutes.
Although I haven't done it in a long time, I would go along with wife to mall as driver and money bearer, sit in the middle and wait for her to reappear with bags of stuff, or a text to come "help me" carry this stuff. Total waste of my day.
 
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Old 04-29-16, 04:50 AM
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We only have (had) one Mall in Northern Vermont . . . . and it's failing. They can't even keep the parking lot paved; reminds me of the pock marked roads of Quang-Tri Province.

I think the enclosed Mall concept requiring all Tenants to maintain the same staffed open hours as the Mall failed to recognize that every business is subject to its own varying levels of market enthusiasm and seasonal ebbs and flows . . . . forcing them to remain open even when they have no business, and when they can least afford it has killed off many occupants who may have remained viable in an independent location.
 
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Old 04-29-16, 04:58 AM
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I looked at that site and keyed in on my area. The Seneca Mall is considered the EYESORE of West Seneca and has been a controversy since it's inception. Cheektowaga (yes that is the name of a Buffalo suburb) also has a major eyesore in a major intersection. Several plans were made to utilize it. But I suspect politics and greed has prevented it's use. It lays in decay and is a fire hazard.

Maybe this commentary is slightly aside from the topic on hand. But I only wish that local governments would not allow any new buildings to be erected until proof that existing buildings cannot be used. And then compensation must be rendered by the builder to help offset cost of taxes and upkeep of non-used buildings. Sure this will greatly reduce building and slow the economy and be a detriment to the building trades. But if a business can see a profit by building then they can see see a method to help the area maintain it's beauty and ecology.

We have in West Seneca a place called the Southgate Plaza. Due to location and very wise management it is perhaps the most vibrant and long lasting plazas in the nation. It's always up to date and at near capacity in tenants. It's all open, no weather protection and in the heart of the Western New York snow belt.
 
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Old 04-29-16, 05:59 AM
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We have 4 malls within a 30 minute drive. Three of the four are always busy and the 4th is hanging on. A fifth mall recently opened nearby. It too is always busy. I don't think that corporate greed is a big factor. Mostly it's about the state of the economy and internet competition. While marginal malls might fail, well located, managed and populated malls will continue to thrive - as long as women have credit cards.

I probably visit a mall 2-3 times a year. Most of my purchases are made on line. My wife visits 2-3 times a month. For her it's about shopping, not purchasing.
 
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Old 04-29-16, 08:56 AM
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But I only wish that local governments would not allow any new buildings to be erected until proof that existing buildings cannot be used
I tend to agree with you Norm! Locally they are always abandoning old stores and erecting new ones. Often a new shopping center will be built and the stores will leave the old shopping center even though from all appearances it was thriving IMO it would be better money spent repairing/remodeling old stores versus building new.

For her it's about shopping, not purchasing.
Must be a female thing, my wife is the same way. I go to the store to get, not look, if I am looking it's because I'm 'researching' a new purchase or project. Never understood how a woman can spend 2 hrs in a store and come out empty handed.
 
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Old 04-29-16, 09:05 AM
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Online shopping may have hurt some malls but I can think of at least 4 or 5 malls that are still going strong, in downstate NY. Maybe rural areas were hurt more.
 
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Old 04-29-16, 09:14 AM
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Yeah, I was surprised that malls are dying. They certainly are not around here. Googling around you can get varying opinions (no surprise there) but this one seemed to be the most even handed.

LINK
 
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Old 04-29-16, 06:28 PM
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I don't think it's so much of a decline in malls as a popular shopping center. But more related to bigger or better malls or stores or shopping centers or smaller local shopping centers displacing others. Sure the Internet has taken some of the traffic away but not a significant amount to cause closing. In fact did I not read recently that Amazon is going to open a brick and mortar store. Downsizing to the smaller strip malls may be making a comeback (not a fan) to cater to specific neighborhoods and local communities.

Within walking distance we have small strip mall, anchored by a Seven-Eleven/Mobil gas station for the past 20 years. This month a brand new strip mall opened right across the street. What use to be open fields, once a strawberry farm and a haven for small animals is now concreted over. And where are those small animal critters going? Into the neighborhoods for lack of a better place. Can you say rat problem? Can you say traffic problem? And can you say pollution problem? The point is all those stores and services being rendered were always available within 1o minutes of drive time to existing malls or plazas.
 
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Old 04-29-16, 08:29 PM
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All depends on where you live. I know the few times I've been to Seattle they have some thriving malls with nary a shuttered shop. Same with the San Diego, LV, and LA areas. Probably because the price of land to build new is so high.
 
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Old 04-29-16, 09:22 PM
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Here in NJ there are malls that are booming and some are dying.
I've definitely noticed the increased building around the malls....mostly food places.
We now have many hamburger places..... and more being built.

It's hard to understand......we have a lot of strip malls. Many are dying, a lot are empty and yet several miles down the road... they're building new ones.
 
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Old 04-30-16, 02:57 AM
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Locally it seems the malls are being displaced by shopping centers, part strip mall but mostly just a group of stores with restaurants scattered throughout the property. These are being placed at the outskirt of town or between 2 towns. There are 2 new ones on opposite ends of Bristol along I-81 with the flagship stores being Cabelas and Bass Pro. I find it hard to believe that this area can support both and it has definitely taken business away from similar stores in town.
 
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Old 04-30-16, 03:09 AM
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Not sure if this chain stretches outside the confines of Georgia, but we have Dollar General Stores scattered about the state. They are quick, in and out stores that don't offer much in quality as much as they do convenience. Our county population is about 11,000 in the winter. I noted the other day a 4th (FOURTH) store is going up in our county! These stores only have a 3 mile stretch of highway separating them at most. I just don't see how they can survive.
 
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Old 04-30-16, 03:52 AM
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I know what you mean Larry! They've been building new stores in our area every time you turn around. There are 3 within 8 miles of my house. While they do seem to do a lot of business it seems like all those construction costs will kill their bottom line.
 
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Old 04-30-16, 01:20 PM
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I have been reading your posts and I have to agree shopping malls are mainly for women with very few men's stores anymore unless you count athletic wear or shoes for men. I think one of the reasons for the decline in the enclosed malls is that more women today are very busy and more are working instead of being stay at home moms. Nothing wrong with that as things are more expensive now than they ever were years ago. It just shows though that more of the enclosed malls target audience is buying online.

I read that article and it does say that not all enclosed malls are dying and that even some new ones are being built. What they didn't say though is where those malls are being built. In Maryland more and more strip malls are being built either on new land or on the ashes so to speak of old enclosed malls. I think the reason being is that men and now women too will prefer the strip mall experience rather than the enclosed mall experience as you can just dash in a store and leave. Weather has a great deal to say about whether to enclose or not too.

We get some really bad snow storms here and have had high winds but for the most part Maryland's weather has been even handed and not too harsh. So that is why I think we are having more high end strip malls being built, the weather and the changing times of people rushing here and there. Speaking of rushing my dinner will be here soon from a deli I buy from so more later.
 
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Old 04-30-16, 03:48 PM
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I have to agree shopping malls are mainly for women
The mall nearest to me has a Sears. Before I met my wife I had never been further into the mall [actually only sears] than the tool dept
 
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Old 05-03-16, 08:14 PM
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The mall nearest to me has a Sears
Unfortunately for us the nearest Sears marksr is in the White Oak area of Silver Spring Maryland sadly it has gone into decline and really isn't worth going to anymore. I still buy from Sears though on occasion and only online as the trip to White Oak isn't really worth it to me it is too far away too. I really liked their tool department though and their men's clothes were better than at most stores at the time. Now for men's clothes I buy from JCPenney.com instead of going to the store.

One of the reasons I said corporate greed has hurt some shopping malls is an example of a mall in nearby Greenbelt that is a mini mall and was built next to what was once an S. Klein department store. Those of you who live in New York probably have heard of S. Klein department stores it had all kinds of things and great merchandise close in quality to Macy's in my opinion. Trouble was for them they sold things at a greatly reduced price great for the consumer but the store didn't make much and finally folded and went bankrupt.

The people at S Klein were nice too I had broken a plate for someone who had moved into a trailer I was just a young kid and was dragged from one store to the next trying to find that perfect gift and I was tired. Well one of the managers there told my mom please go back into the store and pick a replacement on me and that is what we did he went with us and told the checker don't charge her the other plate was accidentally damaged. Not something you see anymore, more and more at stores you see greed and indifference.

Well you can guess what happened to the mall once their only anchor store S. Klein went out of business. Many stores closed although certainly not all stores and rent went up at a time when many of the stores were struggling to survive. After the mall rebounded some they still went up on the stores rent. I once had a church friend who has passed on who had a friend who at one time owned a store in the mall but had to give it up because the rent went up. Many things have changed there but the mall still is struggling some and is still in danger.
 
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Old 05-03-16, 08:26 PM
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This thread has taken on a life of its own.

We were experiencing a Dunkin Donuts boom here in NJ. Now it appears it's Starbucks time. It's not uncommon to see several DD's in one town here. Often one across the street from another.

The other phenomenon I can't get over is chain drug stores. Here, where there's a CVS, there is a Rite Aid or Walgreens..... directly across the street and some even right next to each other. It's funny... when I drive and see one of them.... I look for one of the others.
 
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Old 05-03-16, 11:40 PM
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Funny you mention CVS Pete there are four CVS drugstores in my immediate area. One is fairly close by and I could walk to it if I wanted to and is in Greenbelt along with another CVS up the road from me in Greenbelt. The other two are in Beltsville and College Park. None of the CVS stores are real close to each other but close enough that they could in theory hurt each other. I found another article this time about dead department stores here is the link MeTV Network | We wish we could shop at these department stores again.

Many of these store were anchor stores like Montgomery Ward for instance and Hecht's department stores. At one time I had both a Hecht's and a Montgomery Ward charge card. When Macy's bought out Hecht's the card was immediately useless and no Macy's cards were issued. Not that I cared as Hecht's was always more expensive than Montgomery Ward and they catered mainly to women with very few men's items. After Wards closed surprise surprise I get a Walmart credit card which I used for a while and then I didn't use it again.

Obviously the company that owned Wards didn't care about my privacy and only wanted what little balance I still owed Wards which I was willing to pay but to Wards not Walmart. So it is strange how some stores die out and some shopping malls survive the anchor going and some don't. I still have some fond memories of some of the malls that are no longer here especially Laurel Mall as it had some fantastic places to eat and some of the stores were very decent with some good prices. It was also a great place to shop for gifts during Christmas or for birthdays.
 
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Old 05-04-16, 04:06 AM
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Hedge and PJ, the drug store thing really bothers me. They can't all stay in business. Some of those store must close sooner or later. It's like the gas station wars of years back when there was a gas station on all four corners. Eventually we'll have more empty building!

Hedge, you mentioned about S Klein closing partly due to perhaps "giving" things away with low prices or for free. I think it's a lot more complicated than that. Poor management is the main reason for any business closing (yes, greed is the usual reason). At our store we are launching a new program called AMAZE. We will go to almost any length to provide for the customer. That means "giving" some thing away or at a loss. We will cut carpet and keep the portion or the 12 foot width that the customer does not want. We will cut pipe, cutter lengths, and other pieces of product that the customer does not have to buy the whole length. Our hope is to garner more customers and keep our loyal base. I think it will be a success. But I see several pitfalls. I'm thinking the carpeting bit will be a big loss for us. We get no compensation from the mills or distributor on carpeting. Other products that we take back (defective or not) we can usually get credit from vendor. But our main objective is to provide service in a big way. That is where the big box stores fail miserably. Even though they try, they can't do it. Too big to get all employees to know all product.

The subject or Sears...Too bad K-mart bought them. Sears is trying to get out of the brick and mortar business and just go in for the mail order (Internet) business. I think it's too little too late. They won't be able to compete with Amazon. I think they need to go back to the old style of merchandising. Easy to get to departments with out having to traverse every other department. Most men and many women I know refuse to enter Sears because you can't just go to one department without going thru every other one. But then most stores are laid out that way. And don't get me started on how drug stores are laid out. If you're crippled, asthmatic, blind, severely ill, or in discomfort, you must traverse the whole damn store to get to the pharmacy to get the medicine to help you. And when you're in those conditions the last thing you're interested in is all the other stuff such as cosmetics, candy, gifts, photos, toys, etc. Put the pharmacy in the front of the store and make the pharmacy easy for those that need it.
 
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Old 05-04-16, 04:15 AM
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Norm, it's nice to hear your store is striving to improve customer service

It's pretty rare around here to find a drug store that doesn't have a competitor across the road. I use a mom and pop type drug store but know what you are saying about the chain drug stores. They also seem to always make you wait longer than you'd expect for your prescription to be filled. The drug store I go to once let me leave with our medicine even though I forgot my wallet and couldn't pay. Another time the power was out, they couldn't process my credit card but told me to take the medicine anyway and stop in the next time I drove by to pay. Doubt any of that would happen at a chain store!
 
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Old 05-04-16, 06:48 AM
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hedgeclippers: What part of MD are you in? I'm in the Annapolis area.

I know of a few of those malls on that list...I remember seeing a segment on channel 2 news about the Owings Mills' mall and how it's faded. I also remember Harundale Mall...and how that doesn't even exist any more at all. I've seen Marley Station struggle to keep a fourth anchor store ever since Hecht's was bought out by Macy's, but I wouldn't know what the interior of the mall looks like. I haven't set foot in there in probably 10 years.

Meanwhile, the Annapolis Mall seems to be thriving and doesn't have much problem filling in stores whenever they're vacated. It does seem more geared towards the upscale crowd than Marley Station does.

Outdoor shopping areas, utilizing the "town center" concept, do seem to be the key for successful shopping areas as of late but could that just be a trend? The town center concept that was built out in Landover (on the site of the former Capital Center) doesn't seem to be doing too well as of late.

I feel it is all about location...what does the area want. In Annapolis, the indoor mall and the outdoor town center are both doing fairly well for only being about a mile apart from each other.
 
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Old 05-04-16, 08:10 AM
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fshannon3 I am in College Park and fairly close to stores either within walking distance or not too far away by bus. If I remember correctly Owings Mills Mall was on the list of dead or dying malls. Landover has unfortunately had its share of crime and that is one of the reasons why Landover Mall closed permanently. I doubt that the shopping center where the Capital Center was will do very well and I doubted it from the very beginning. It was a good try though but the area will have to change and more parental supervision needs to be done.

Marksr we have a small independent pharmacy near us too and they deliver too. We also let them keep our credit card on file and whenever we need something they just pull up the file and use our number. They have been very honest and have never used our credit card for anything unauthorized. Rite aid around here does deliver but only in the very early hours of the day so we would never use them.
 
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Old 05-04-16, 10:21 AM
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Two of the bigger malls in my area have folded or are about to fold. Demographics did them in.
The population has moved further into the rural area and new centers have been built to serve them.
The older malls now have less affluent clients and some have become weekend hangouts for teens. That also sends the more affluent older customers to find another place to spend their money.
 
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Old 05-04-16, 01:26 PM
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That also sends the more affluent older customers to find another place to spend their money.
The mall I referred to in post #2 has a lot of senior citizens that frequent there in the mornings. I try not to go to the mall but sometimes I get roped into going with my wife. After I've cruised thru the tool section at sears you'll find me on a bench. I've noticed in the mornings there are a lot of seniors that walk the halls for exercise, some of them make multiple laps ..... don't know if they spend any money while they are there but they sure make me tired watching them
 
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Old 05-04-16, 01:59 PM
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I have intentionally avoided ALL malls. - My wife is a "social shopper" that enjoys shopping in big or small stores and never buys without getting a real deal. I am not patient. Fortunately, we have 2 cars, so I don't have to do the take and wait routine. I do have a crossword puzzle book in my car in case of a last minute emergency/urge on her behalf.

As far as clothing, I order everything from a known catalog/site like L.L. Bean, etc. - It lasts forever and you get someone else to do the driving, parking or waiting. The sizing never varies. If I don't like it, or it does not fit quite right, I just throw the addressed return mailer in the drive through at the post office or UPS container a block away and get the credit. Today, I just got 2 compliments on a long sleeve checked cotton shirt that I bought about 10 or 15 years ago. I will probably order a replacement for the future.

I still wear Birkenstock sandals that I bought over 15 years ago. Two days ago, I ordered another pair that fit perfectly and hour after out of the box delivered to my door.

In our area (MSP, MN) we have no end of shopping choices, but you have to fight the traffic and wandering people and parking even with a handicap plate. - It makes no sense to go out of your way to get what you want when it can be delivered to your door. Last week, I got chewed out when I parked near a shopping center door that was not designated "handicapped" even though I was using my cane (sympathy stick) to get to the store.

Shopping/buying is a necessary evil.

Dick
 
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Old 05-04-16, 04:58 PM
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Don't dismiss the impact of on line shopping when it comes to the long term viability of brick and mortar storefronts. According to Internet Retailer.com, E-retail is expected to grown to $414 Billion dollars by 2018. That's an increase of 57% from 2013 sales. By 2018 e-sales are predicted to grow to 11% of total retail sales. That money has to come from somewhere.

However, I believe that as long as there are women with credit cards, malls and storefronts will survive.

I am fortunate in that the largest (and nearest) indoor mall to me has a Home Depot, a Dick's and a Lowes adjacent.
 
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Old 05-04-16, 05:41 PM
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One thing Concretemasonry didn't mention is that we are the birth place of the mall. Southdale Center (or just Southdale) in Edina, MN was the first enclosed mall in the US dating back to 1956. We are also the location of the 2nd largest mall in the US.

That said, I can think of one mall that has closed, but it was in decline for many years. That location is still a shopping area with Walmart (new) and Sears (old) available. I think more then anything is that it has more to do with larger big box stores and the fact that they do not want to pay rent for a location.
 
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Old 05-04-16, 06:11 PM
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Don't dismiss the impact of on line shopping when it comes to the long term viability of brick and mortar storefronts. According to Internet Retailer.com, E-retail is expected to grown to $414 Billion dollars by 2018. That's an increase of 57% from 2013 sales. By 2018 e-sales are predicted to grow to 11% of total retail sales. That money has to come from somewhere.
All good and well...but as big of an online buyer as I am, one thing I absolutely will not buy online is everyday clothes. Novelty t-shirts, sure...but work attire, jeans, etc....no. I've got to be able to see the garment in front of me, on me, especially now as I get older and, uh, "bigger." No matter the supposed quality.

So I really wouldn't want clothing retailers to lose any physical presence in my lifetime.
 
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Old 05-04-16, 07:17 PM
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Funny you mentioned that Tolyn Ironhand I was on Facebook just now and they mentioned Southdale as being the first mall in the United States. Here are two links one is for ME TV and has a YouTube video that you can watch on YouTube in full screen and it shows opening day of Southdale. Until now I didn't know anything about the first mall and where it was located. The next link is a Wikipedia article that explains how it has survived for so long. MeTV Network | This is what the first shopping mall in the United States looked like .

Wikipedia link https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southdale_Center . Southdale apparently almost went under but through certain mergers and changes they have somehow survived. It is a good use of an old mall and is appropriate for the harsh winters that Minnesota has. I like the changes they made the way the mall was before it wouldn't interest me except for WoolWorth which I used to go to in Laurel and Hyattsville as both stores were good. Too bad they are no longer there I used to like the lunch counter and the merchandise wasn't bad either.
 
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Old 05-05-16, 09:19 AM
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Wow...looking at an article off of the "This is what the first shopping mall...looked like" really brought back some memories of mall stores that are long gone.

What an interesting discussion this has turned out to be, at least for me. Who'd have thought I'd get nostalgic about shopping malls...
 
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