American Shopping Malls Die A Slow, Ugly Death

Friday, January 31, 2014
By Paul Martin

HAYLEY PETERSON
BusinessInsider.com
Jan. 31, 2013

All across America, once-vibrant shopping malls are boarded up and decaying.

Traffic-driving anchors like Sears and JCPenney are shutting down stores, and mall owners are having a hard time finding retailers large enough to replace them. With a fresh wave of closures on the horizon, the problem is set to accelerate, according to retail and real estate analysts.

About 15% of U.S. malls will fail or be converted into non-retail space within the next 10 years, according to Green Street Advisors, a real estate and REIT analytics firm. That’s an increase from less than two years ago, when the firm predicted 10% of malls would fail or be converted.

“The risk of failure for a mall increases dramatically once you see anchor closures,” said Cedric Lachance, managing director of Green Street Advisors. “Their health is very important … and most of them are highly likely to continue closing stores.”

Within 15 to 20 years, retail consultant Howard Davidowitz expects as many as half of America’s shopping malls to fail. He predicts that only upscale shopping centers with anchors like Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus will survive.

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