News agencies and pundits are laser-focused on how they believe Trump screwed-up the Coronavirus response while ignoring the changes in the economy caused by over-protective politicians.
Malls Aren’t Mainstream Anymore
Shopping malls, at least the ones that are still open, will likely be absent of theaters and major department stores, but for once, they’ll have plenty of parking.
First, movie theater companies are filing for bankruptcy. CMX Cinemas and Goodrich Quality Theaters have filed while AMC and Regal are begging creditors to renegotiate debt in hopes of avoiding a filing. Spacing people 6+ feet apart makes it impossible for them to make a profit and theater-goers have found more convenient alternatives from streaming services. Also, soda and popcorn at home doesn’t cost $20.
The food at food courts is often.. not that great. Without other reasons to be at the mall, they don’t help.
Small retailers can’t wait out the Coronapocalypse and will either fail, give up or move to online selling.
Others Are Moving In
Amazon.com and grocery stores are battling for space in the 1970’s relics as brick and mortar retail establishments lose customers to online outlets – thanks, in part, to Coronavirus lockdowns.
Amazon wants to put “fulfillment centers” (aka warehouses) in abandoned department stores, but while that will help pay the rent for mall owners, it won’t bring anyone to their property – which is their primary goal if they want new renters. Those warehouses would also require rezoning the mall to “industrial” space – not a small feat.
No One is Going Anywhere That Puts Them Close to a Ton of People
Everyone is so terrified that they might die from Coronavirus that they won’t go to a place that puts them in close proximity to others. Malls were stadiums for the champions of shopping… but not anymore.
Shoppers are learning to buy online instead of having to deal with mask mandates, limited numbers in the stores, etc. Stores just aren’t convenient anymore and as malls lose their key attractions (theaters, big department stores, restaurants and gyms) shoppers have far fewer reasons to deal with the hassle.
Middle-America is Broke
Most middle-income Americans have been affected by the Coronavirus lockdowns. That means that most have ZERO money to spend on anything other than rent/mortgage, gas and groceries. Going to the mall is far from the front of their minds while they’re trying to split a can of beans between two hungry kids.
What Does it Mean?
If you like malls, they’re likely done for. Heck, two shopping malls in my area announced they’d given up on surviving and filed for the same bankruptcy protection as several major mall retailers, gyms, and restaurants.
The end is nigh – for malls.