15 November 2008

Boomers and Their Shopping Malls

Just about 10 years ago, shopping ranked as the number 1 American pastime on vacations. As the economic picture grows bleaker, we can expect that both of those concepts (shopping and vacations) will undergo change.

As a baby boomer, I have a clear memory of my first shopping mall, which we determined to be the enclosed set of shops distinguished from a shopping center, which was an open-air set of shops. Today, the words run together and some very high-end malls would have been called shopping centers in my Arkansas hometown.

Well, if malls are as old as I am, it should be no surprise that some will fall into disrepair (much like me...) and even close their doors. A couple of months ago I visited the Mall of America in Minneapolis, and I'm glad I saw it pre-economic-disaster. If I were to visit now, I would have another lens: how long a dry spell can this Mall withstand? Instead, my memory is one of a bustling mall with an amusement center in its middle and an aquarium in its basement.

National reports indicate that shopping patterns are already changing and retailers are bracing for a depressed holiday season. Will shopping real estate soon reflect these patterns?

We can track that on a web site called deadmalls.com, which is the work of two retail historians. (I am educated: I was not aware of this term before this week.) Contributors to the web site permit a wide range of reports from around the country.

© 2008 Mary Bold, PhD, CFLE. The content of this blog or related web sites created by Mary Bold (www.marybold.com, www.boldproductions.com, College Intern Blog) is not under any circumstances to be regarded as professional, legal, financial, or medical advice. Or education advice. Or marital advice. Or even a tip.

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