The steady drumbeat of store closings and retail bankruptcies may seem like a death knell for American malls. But malls are far from dying. They're just taking on a different kind of identity.
At No. 2 US mall developer General Growth Properties (GGP), which manages such properties as Bridgewater Commons mall in New Jersey and Spokane Valley Mall in Washington, the percentage of its space occupied by restaurants and other food sellers is forecast to increase to 20% by 2025 from 13%, said GGP CEO Sandeep Lakhmi Mathrani in an earnings call on May 1.
Restaurants aren’t the only mall share gainers. As US box office sales hit a record $11.4 billion last year, GGP has inked close to 60 movie theater deals in its properties, Mathrani said, adding entertainment deals will continue to rise. On the other hand, apparel will decline to about 40% of GGP’s property mix, down from about 50%, he said.
The changing face of the American mall is another sign of consumers' shifting priorities and tastes, with an increasing preference to spend time and money on experiences and services.
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