With major retailers closing thousands of underperforming locations this year, there are serious doubts about whether entire malls – especially in rural and suburban areas – will be able to survive.
But, as we’ve learned from past cases, malls don’t usually shut down overnight – it’s often a slow and painful process.
Eerie photos capture the remains of dead malls
Photographer Seph Lawless, author of the new book “Autopsy of America: The Death of a Nation,” has traveled across the country to document the state of failed malls.
Long after the last shoppers have left the building, he goes inside to capture these haunting images.
Canton Centre Mall in Canton, Ohio, thrived in the 1980s, but was in decline for many years before closing in the early 2000s. Now, it’s just an eyesore.
Lawless took a selfie at Rolling Acres Mall in Akron, Ohio, which was filled with snow at the time of his visit because of cracks in its glass ceiling.
In Euclid, Ohio, shattered glass surrounds a mannequin in a display window at Euclid Square Mall.
At the former Lincoln Mall in Matteson, Illinois, trees and plants are left to rot inside the abandoned building. Marketing signage still hangs above.
Montgomery Ward went out of business in 2001, but some signage at Metro North Mall in Kansas City, Missouri, stayed around for more than a decade.
At the height of its popularity, Owings Mills Mall in Baltimore County, Maryland, was anchored by Lord & Taylor, Saks Fifth Avenue, Boscov’s and Sears.
Randall Park Mall in North Randall, Ohio, was once the largest shopping center in the world. But this is how many people are going to remember it.
Experts: Hundreds of malls are at risk of closing
Green Street Advisors has predicted that several hundred malls may close over the next decade. According to a 2016 report in Bloomberg, properties reliant on Macy’s, Sears and JCPenney stores are the most vulnerable.
All three of those department store chains have announced massive store closures already this year.
On the radio show, Clark explained that traditional retailers are closing stores because they’re not giving people what they want in terms of things like price, fashion and selection.
As a result, shoppers are increasingly turning to online and discount merchants for better deals.
“The reality is that America has been overstored. We have far too many retail locations, shopping centers and branches of different chains,” Clark said. “But stores that are meeting your needs with low prices will continue to thrive.”