It’s not hard to associate the image of huge, wide highways full-stopped with a mammoth sized shopping mall with the USA. For the past 60 years or so, they have been the cornerstone of many American communities.
However, with the likes of the anchor stores such as Macy’s, JCPenney and Sears shutting shop across the country and the last major shopping mall built being over three years ago, some say the format has gone stale. There are still around 1,200 shopping malls in the country, but if things carry on as they are, that number could shortly be sliced in half.
Whilst some retail experts see no point in wasting time trying to salvage a formula which is dead at the root, it’s clear that others feel a little pruning could bring it back to life. Our next 4 blog posts explore very different ways different people believe they can stimulate growth:
Experimenting with Experiences: American Dream Miami
The Canadian Ghermezian family have have taken on a huge construction site, unfinished for 16 years, and plan to build a 6.2 million-square-foot retail and entertainment mall worth $4 billion, making it the most expensive mall ever built. They are putting their eggs in the experiential basket with 2,000 hotel rooms, an indoor ski slope, an ice-climbing wall and a water park. Although the mall started off having many more shops, this change is to move in line with the fact that more experience based malls have had double-digit sales growth since 2012 and are 90% occupied.
Pushing the POP-UP: Neighbourhood Good
The next experiment is the Neighbourhood Good mall which, after receiving $5.75 million in seed funding, is opening up its first 13,000 square foot store in Plano, Texas. Their idea to revolutionize the moribund mall format is to create a pop-up of 15 multinational and local indie brands at a time on a rotating cycle, selling clothing and homeware and fuelling the delights of discovery each time visitors stop by. The mall will also have a bar and restaurant and feature events like speaker series, art installations and podcasts.
Lavishing in Luxury: Holt Renfrew Update
The third way is the road to all-out luxury. The Holt Renfrew chain of malls in Canada are making a series of updates which seek to expand and elevate their existing estate with a focus on high-end luxury and beauty brands. Putting their faith in physical retail, they are spending over $400 million on expanded beauty halls, personal shopping services and 75 luxury concessions that include brands like Chanel, Gucci, Fendi, Louis Vuitton and Dior. There will also be a specialist leather goods shop and a new Colette Grand Café.
Harnessing Health and Well-being: Westfield
Saving our favourite to last, this beautiful Westfield Mall is in the pipeline for 2028. The customer insight inspiring the design is the rising interest in health and wellness. This mall plans to include sensory gardens and waterways, as well as spaces for wellness workshops and toilets that can diagnose hydration and vitamin levels. A close second will be a focus on convenience, with eye scanners which can inform stores about shoppers’ previous purchases and walkways powered by artificial intelligence which will recommend personalised fast lanes.