Mark Schaub, founder of Orlando Mall Guide, appeared on WOFL-FOX 35’s “Good Day Orlando” on Sept. 10 to discuss the future of the mall. With the recent announcement that Macy’s is closing 35–40 of its stores early in 2016, anchor Amy Kaufeldt questions, “Are malls going away?”
The short answer is “no,” and that malls are simply evolving as they have since the first recognized mall opened in the mid-1950s. Macy’s in particular is leasing sections of its stores to big-name retailers like Best Buy and Finish Line. This enables a department store like Macy’s to offer customers new and different products; attract customers who may not visit their store otherwise; better utilize under-performing retail space to generate profits; and reduce their own leasing costs by creating additional sublease income.
Retailers are now turning their focus to creating an enhanced, customer experience that they can’t get by shopping online. Examples include the American Girl store where families will purchase a doll, take it to the hair salon for a makeover and eat a meal at the Bistro. This is known as “experiential retail,” and you can more about it by CLICKING HERE.
Jeffrey Gennette, president of Macy’s, even alluded to this at a retailing conference after the announcement was made saying that they’re going to redesign the customer experience by reshaping the stores. Simply put, some of the existing stores don’t fit the mold for the new direction so they’re doing away with them.
Overall, higher-end malls such as The Florida Mall and The Mall at Millenia are excelling in these times and continue to offer customers new experiences such as the recently announced Think Geek store and Lilly Pulitzer at The Florida Mall and The Mall at Millenia respectively.
As far as what stores Macy’s are closing, the company said those decisions haven’t been made yet. With five Macy’s stores in the metro Orlando area, it’s highly likely that Macy’s will still maintain a presence in the area after those stores are determined in early 2016.
What do you think? Are malls evolving for the better? Leave a comment below.