Have shopping malls become irrelevant?
A top real estate developer says such centers were useful in the past but now deliver the wrong experience.
American malls are facing a rebirth, and without a complete reinvention, they will be extinct within 10 to 15 years, the head of one of the nation's largest privately held real estate companies says.
"At one point (the indoor mall) may have met the developer's needs -- and even for awhile the consumer's needs -- but it has outlived its usefulness," Rick Caruso, the founder and CEO of Caruso Affiliated, said in a keynote address Sunday at the National Retail Federation's annual convention in New York.
In order to compete with the growing presence of online retail -- which, according to ComScore, saw desktop sales increase by 10 percent this holiday -- physical stores need to focus on delivering an experience that customers cannot find on the Web, Caruso said. What's more, physical stores cannot only consider themselves to be in the retail industry but need to embrace the hospitality industry as well.
"It's easy to get distracted by the relentless conversation of the Internet versus brick and mortar, but now more than ever what we need to do is focus on what has always been and what will always be essential to our customer: creating an experience that is magical, creating an experience that is memorable," he said.
For Candace Nelson, the founder of Sprinkles Cupcakes and a speaker on the panel, this has meant the invention of a cupcake ATM machine, where consumers can swipe their credit card at a machine and get a freshly baked cupcake at 2 a.m.
At Caruso's properties, which include the Grove in Los Angeles, it's meant features such as a trolley, which makes children want to visit the shopping center, or offering dining options so husbands don't rush their wives while they browse.
"Embrace your advantage, which itself is disruptive to the technology that thinks it's so disruptive to you," Caruso said.
Traffic at physical stores has been on a steady decline in recent years, as the adoption of online shopping has taken off. In the recent holiday season, ShopperTrak data showed that foot traffic at brick-and-mortar stores fell nearly 15 percent, causing many to wonder what role the physical store will play in the future of retail.
Blake Nordstrom, the president of upscale department store Nordstrom (JWN), said that while it's obvious that customers are beginning to expect more from stores, the challenge lies in finding the capital and wherewithal to properly execute on these principles.
It's also riskier for retailers to pour investments into physical properties because they don't have the ability to be as nimble as they are when making changes to their online presence.
Nordstrom said that in a world where shoppers have everything at their fingertips, physical retailers need to make consumers' experience across mobile, desktop and in-store as seamless as possible, or risk losing their business.
"We're all striving to stay as close as we can to the customer and make sure that we're in lockstep with her expectations," Nordstrom said. "Because if not, they're moving on to the other great alternative."
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I'm not sure about Mall in other towns/cities, but the one in mine is nothing but a gangster wanna-be hangout. High school drop outs and middle school age children running wild.
But this must be the clientel the mall management wants because most a majority of the stores in the mall cater to that demographic.
Americans have become so narcissistic, rude, insensitive, and down right ugly that no matter where you go you are overwhelmed with the behavior. Common manners such as please, thank you, and excuse me are so rare that I almost never hear them anymore.
Seriously though, the mall isn't what it used to be. The major anchor stores such as Sears, Penny's etc. are disappearing and teenie-bopper clothing stores and overpriced boutiques just don't do it for me.
Not much of a reason to go there anymore.
Mall retailers need to do what Best Buy did; offer an in store item for the same online, competitor's price. The advantage for the brick and mortar then becomes the buyer being able to experience instant gratification.
Creating an experience that is magical and memorable? What do they mean, like blasting music and laser light shows? Luxury dining in the food court? Four wheel drive scooters for the overweight? If I go to the auto parts store to but some wiper blades I don't need it to be magical and memorable. The mall should be the same. It is what it is and no amount of magic will change it's basic concept.
Lake Forrest Mall G-Berg Md...... MS-13
Landover Mall ....Landover Md......Closed
P.G. Plaza ......Md.......Man Killed in parking lot
The malls in my area are horrible. A bunch of no name stores with cheap merchandise. The big name stores have limited selection and nothing interesting to buy. How many button down shirts or T shirts can one person have? The last time I went to the local mall it was overrun my teenagers. I shop at the local outlets. They offer more selection. I still think we need some stores where I can buy items for my home. I used to buy many household goods from JC Penney, but they now are focused on clothes and makeup. I am tired of having to drive 30 minutes to find a Home Goods, Pottery Barn outlet, Kirklands, etc. I am now buying most things for my home online.
Malls hit our fancy in the late Sixties. They were shinny bright, easy park, indoors (no traffic,
no bad weather) and appealed to our Gatsby self-images of the time. Within a few decades,
Neman was 'EVERYWHERE'. The malls' prestige began a slow death dance even for the
entry-level office or retail clerk. Though we could purchase fantastic Chinese manufactured
imported quality for a few dollars (when its comparable American sibling sold in the tens or
twenties) and the range of products was nothing short of vast (awesome is their word now),
even malls couldn't outlast America's challenge of trend.
Now, the malls often beget too much violence and many shun such public venues due to
cautious fear. As the INTERNET sill doesn't massacre us - YET, we're turning there for
our entertainment in shopping, light exercise and casual society encounters. The INTERNET
too will be passe prior to 2030 probably.
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