Future of shopping malls

The retail industry has been changing and evolving over the last several years, and so has the way we shop. So how has changed and how will it shape the future of shopping?

It is another day at Fashion Valley Mall, but while the people holding the shopping bags may not notice, behind the scenes, malls like this one are always changing.

"The retail industry has probably been changing more in the last five years or so than it did for decades," explains Marketing Professor George Blech.

Marketing Professor George Blech says look no further than your computer screen for the reason behind the changes. People simply do not shop the same way as they used to.

"So it's a real challenge for the traditional retailer to figure out how I am going to compete against this new type of consumer behavior that we're seeing," says Blech.

"It is, kind of ever evolving," says Francine Miley from the Fashion Valley Mall.

An evolution that means changing the way our malls look today. Incorporating more technology at individual stores, and in some cases it means changing locations.

"The mall business, there is so much that goes on behind the scenes in identifying the proper retail mix to best compliment the center," says Miley.

That mix does not stay the same, for instance Crate & Barrel is moving out of Fashion Valley, directing shoppers to their much larger retail store at another mall.

"Places like Best Buy, Crate & Barrel, they are reducing the number of stores,” says Blech. “In many cases they are trying to be much more strategic, in terms of their location, in many cases they are downsizing the stores."

So with all the impact of the internet, stores may come and go, but will the malls ever disappear?

"I don't think that the mall is going away because as consumers we love to go there,” explains Blech. “Shopping is leisure activity, shopping is recreation."

Shopping means survival for the hundreds of stores that make up the mall experience. But while you may be looking for a purse or new pair of shoes, the mall is looking for ways to keep you coming back.

"I think consumers will always want the retail store, but the retail store has to adapt,” says Blech. “The retail store cannot just sit there and try and protect the past, the retail store has to get involved in shaping the future."

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