Retail in crisis: Hundreds of shopping malls are at risk of closing

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If you were a teenager in the 1990s, there’s something about indoor shopping malls that brings back fond memories. But the mall doesn’t seem to be the hangout of choice for younger generations.

Read more: These major retailers are closing stores in 2017

These malls could be in big trouble 

Green Street Advisors tracks the health of malls, and their analysts told Bloomberg that several hundred malls could disappear over the next decade. Which ones are most at risk? The firm says properties reliant on the department stores Macy’s, JC Penney and Sears are the ones to watch.

The new prediction comes as Macy’s announced that it plans to close 100 of its 730 stores. But the trouble is not just with the big stores. We recently identified 10 retailers that are closing 100 stores or more, and they include several “mall stores.”

  • Aéropostale
  • American Eagle
  • Chicos
  • The Children’s Place
  • Finish Line
  • Men’s Warehouse/Jos. A. Bank

What’s to blame? 

Of course, the growing popularity of online shopping is partly to blame for the problems these retailers are experiencing. But experts say online sales make up less than 10% of the retail picture. There must be something else.

Perhaps it’s competition. There may be just too many stores to choose from. Discount chains T.J. Maxx, Marshalls and HomeGoods are doing just fine. They plan to open thousands of new stores, CNN Money reported.

NBC News spoke to some teenagers and discovered another reason why they’re not going to the mall. It’s not ‘cool.’ And they just don’t identify with stores like Macy’s, JC Penney and Sears.

A nostalgic look back 

One thing is clear, people are nostalgic about dying malls. One man has uploaded video tours of sad-looking shopping malls to YouTube, gaining nearly 500,000 views.

Another YouTube user showed what it was like as the Laurel Mall in Laurel, Maryland, was about to close. Opened in 1979, the mall was once anchored by Montgomery Ward, JC Penney and Hecht’s. But after a long decline, the Laurel Mall was demolished in 2012 to make way for something new.

While other dead malls have been replaced with hospitals, office buildings and churches, the Laurel Mall site reopened as a ‘town center’ in 2014. It features a mix of retail stores, restaurants and entertainment options.


Thriving malls 

Despite stories like these, it’s important to note that many malls are still thriving. According to Bloomberg, about 300 malls in the United States are considered “high-performing.” Shopping centers with high-end retailers are doing particularly well.

Read more: These 10 retailers are each closing 100 stores

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