Shopping malls have to renovate and adapt in order to survive

Even successful shopping malls like Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg have to innovate in order to stay relevant:

With shopping habits having been permanently reshaped by memories of the recession and the availability of new technology, traditional malls like Schaumburg’s must find new reasons for people to make the trip, said Phyllis Ezop, president of Ezop and Associates, a business strategy and marketing information firm in La Grange Park…

The factors that seem to separate the two categories are location, demographics, the strength of tenants and the availability of other amenities, such as restaurants and movie theaters, that can make the mall more of a destination, Stern said…

With the rising popularity of the largely outdoor lifestyle center, Woodfield’s 44-year-old indoor structure is especially challenged, Stern said.

One Woodfield’s negatives that a cosmetic renovation is unlikely to fix is its split-level nature. This makes the mall harder to navigate for the shopper and causes some spaces to be better than others for the tenant, he said…

“They need to have destinations there,” Aron said. “I really see it going in that direction. You can order things online, but you can’t have a great dinner online.

I’ve seen this idea in numerous discussions of planning, whether thinking about reviving a downtown or a shopping mall or a tourist locale: potential visitors need a destination, something unique to get them there. In this sense, Woodfield already is ahead of the game: it is one of the largest malls in the United States, has over 2 million square feet of retail space, and companies located there treat it as an important location (flagship stores, special concepts, etc.). But, it is not guaranteed that people will continue to visit shopping malls. These days, the hook seems to be entertainment. Sure, the mall has shopping but eating, movies, special events, and unique spaces offer entertaining experiences.

One thought on “Shopping malls have to renovate and adapt in order to survive

  1. Pingback: How many suburban entertainment centers can one region have? | Legally Sociable

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