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Chapel Hills Mall – Known Better Days

Nowhere are the changes in the retail landscape more visible than at many of America’s malls and shopping centers.  No we see massive parking lots sit all but empty during what were once peak shopping hours.  And the lettering of major national retailers have been replaced with banners that say “for lease.”  Search homes for sale Flying Horse, Colorado Springs, CO here: http://www.rehava.com

The COVID-19 pandemic did speed up the shift away from certain forms of brick-and-mortar retail.  We see more online shopping.  However, the experience of making purchases in a physical store may not be going away entirely — at least not yet.  Read more about Home Improvement stores and grocers below.

Churn in Retail

“In retail there’s always churn,” said Michelle Moudry, a managing director for Hines.  They are a global real estate investment firm that owns and manages The Promenade Shops at Briargate.

In August 2019, Hines acquired the outdoor shopping center, which saw national retailers LOFT, Pendleton and Talbots close early this year.  Moudry said the three retailers were among several Hines identified in 2019 as under-performers that weren’t really driving traffic anymore.

“You’re always having to make sure you’re relevant and upgrade your tenancy and make sure your merchandising is relevant and current.  This isn’t necessarily just a COVID issue,” she said. “I think some of them probably did accelerate [their departure] compared to when we expected.  But part of this is just the normal course of retail.”

Facing fierce competition from online retail behemoths like Amazon, brick-and-mortar retailers have been closing at a rapid pace since the early 2010s.

Sears, Once an Anchor Store – Closed > 400 Stores

In 2019, major chains announced they would close 9,302 locations, a 59 percent increase from 2018.  According to a report by Coresight Research. Sears, once an anchor of thousands of malls across the United States.  This is one famous example of the fall of the brick-and-mortar department store. The retailer declared bankruptcy in 2018 and has since gone from 500 locations nationwide to just 36 as of January of this year, according to Deloitte.

Candace Seaton, a senior broker for Quantum Commercial Group, said she saw an expansion in brick-and-mortar when she started her career 37 years ago. Now she believes that unbridled growth is contributing to its rapid decline.

The COVID-19 pandemic and its economic shutdowns proved to be a powerful accelerant in that change, but not all brick-and-mortar retailers have fallen by the wayside over the past year.

Home Improvement & Grocers Did Well

Some, like home improvement stores, have seen healthy sales as people stuck inside have found extra time to work on projects. Grocers, categorized as essential businesses in the United States, also did well.

Many were forced to embrace a hybrid business model.  By combining in-person shopping experiences with e-commerce through websites and smartphone apps.  This helps to create a seamless shopping experience based on customer preference, referred to as “omni-channel” shopping.

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