They epitomise America’s consumerist society and have contributed terms like ‘mall hopping’ and ‘mall rats’ to popular lexicon. But are shopping malls in the US losing the game to stand alone stores?
CLOSE your eyes and you could be in any mall, anywhere. At each end is an overstuffed department store with roving fragrance spritzers and makeup artists. In between are children’s stores showing pink clothes on the left, blue on the right, interspersed with teen clothing stores where the lighting is dim and the salespeople are rail-thin. Throw in numerous shoe stores and another version of The Limited or The Gap. Hungry? Don’t fret: Somewhere in this mall are warm cinnamon buns.
That’s the problem. According to new Wharton research, consumers are aggravated and uninspired by the sameness and predictability of shopping malls, which for decades epitomised America’s consumer society. It’s not exactly the news mall developers want to hear, given the already difficult holiday retail environment.
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