Dead/Dying Malls in Your Area and Predictions

buckguy
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Re: Dead/Dying Malls in Your Area and Predictions

Post by buckguy »

There are no quick fixes to department stores or malls. The excess retail by population is easy to document and probably worse in places where it's easy to build. When I lived in Atlanta, the majority of the malls were in decline, but that didn't stop developers from building new ones. The DC area has had no major malls built since 1989 and still has dead malls (though not on an Atlanta-like scale) despite a growing population and the many hoops in developing new retail in many of the jurisdictions. OTOH, DC itself, which had been under-retailed for decades has successfully attracted new retail and retained most of it.

The decline of departments stores has been happening over decades and there are no quick fixes. No one has been able to get out of the cycle of regular price promotions and this has made it difficult to keep varied inventories or sufficient labor in the stores, eliminating their old advantages. Still, department stores have accounted for a decreasing proportion of mall purchases since the 80s and the consolidation of chains--which was slowly occurring for decades also accelerated in the 80s and meant that upper middle brow chains like those owned by Associated Dry Goods became diluted when ownership went to May. The suburbanization of department stores didn't help either--a lot of things that made stores distinctive were difficult to replicate in the suburbs, esp. because of smaller stores and different demographics. I worked for an upper middle brow store during Christmases and a summer--out of 10 branches, maybe 3 carried a full range of the clothing and furniture items that defined that store in relation to cheaper competition like the May store across the street. The tea rooms, beauty salons (barber shops in some men's departments), specialized departments like books, millenary, etc. were among the first things to go in the suburbs or didn't go at all. Stores also phased out their budget store/bargain basements and created the niche now filled by off-price retailers. You also had increasingly centralized buying (Dillard became a Wall Street darling because of this) and consolidation within existing chains--diluting identity and also making the buying and merchandising less creative. So---decades of decline in merchandising and a pricing model that doesn't allow for anything else.

There's also been consolidation of traditional clothing suppliers and the decline of traditional reasons to buy various department store lines. There really aren't a lot different lines to sell in department stores whereas there would have been exclusive if only slightly ,different brands on offer depending on the store. The stores were lucky that they managed to keep selling men's wear after looser dress codes in white collar jobs wiped out the cheapies like Richman Brothers, the chains owned by Hartmarx and Van Husen, and the local traditional men's stores that served the middle and upper middle markets. They also still sell shoes even though the chains in all price ranges have vanished and been replaced by DSW and Famous Footwear. A few indies manage to sell in niches not filled by chains, but that's it and I'll bet those will die out (much like the upper end mens stores) when the current generation retires.

The last real attempt at merchandising was probably the consolidation of Macy stores in the late 70s, early 80s. They took what worked in San Francisco and imported it to NYC, then the Midwestern stores and Atlanta. The magic worked in New York and saved the Herald Square store, in particular, but was not as successful elsewhere. The lesson of not standardizing was lost, but they saved the biggest volume store they had.
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Re: Dead/Dying Malls in Your Area and Predictions

Post by veteran+ »

Great analysis!
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Re: Dead/Dying Malls in Your Area and Predictions

Post by TW-Upstate NY »

Macy's is a great example of that. For years before the "one size fits all" mentality became all the rage when it came to store names, this area had one Macy's located in Colonie Center and that opened with the mall back in the later '60's and is still there today. It was said the only reason they located there in the first place was because either a friend or relative of a Macy's executive of the time who lived in the Albany area somehow convinced them to build that store. For years, it truly was a "destination" store and was probably one of the few Macy's outside of major metropolitan areas. Fast forward a few decades and along comes mergers, consolidations and buyouts which resulted in seemingly a Macy's on every corner and in markets they wouldn't of dreamed of being in if they remained a stand-alone company. Again going back to the Albany area, they once had I believe three Macy's in malls within probably less than 20 miles of each other after rebranding a couple stores that were picked up in various acquisitions over the years. And two of those stores (Colonie Center and Crossgates Mall) are within probably five miles or so of each other. The Rotterdam Square location closed some time ago and I'm too lazy to check but I think the Crossgates one is still open. All these combinations of banners and brands serve to do is "dumb-down" what were once upscale chains. They're virtually interchangeable today and honestly they are long overdue for a reckoning which is going to result in carnage of a scale the retail landscape has not yet experienced. Bottom line is this-as a nation, WE ARE OVERSTORED-(and have been for some time.) I only use Macy's as an example but there are so many others in the same position.
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Re: Dead/Dying Malls in Your Area and Predictions

Post by BillyGr »

TW-Upstate NY wrote: February 22nd, 2021, 10:39 am Macy's is a great example of that. For years before the "one size fits all" mentality became all the rage when it came to store names, this area had one Macy's located in Colonie Center and that opened with the mall back in the later '60's and is still there today. It was said the only reason they located there in the first place was because either a friend or relative of a Macy's executive of the time who lived in the Albany area somehow convinced them to build that store. For years, it truly was a "destination" store and was probably one of the few Macy's outside of major metropolitan areas. Fast forward a few decades and along comes mergers, consolidations and buyouts which resulted in seemingly a Macy's on every corner and in markets they wouldn't of dreamed of being in if they remained a stand-alone company. Again going back to the Albany area, they once had I believe three Macy's in malls within probably less than 20 miles of each other after rebranding a couple stores that were picked up in various acquisitions over the years. And two of those stores (Colonie Center and Crossgates Mall) are within probably five miles or so of each other. The Rotterdam Square location closed some time ago and I'm too lazy to check but I think the Crossgates one is still open. All these combinations of banners and brands serve to do is "dumb-down" what were once upscale chains. They're virtually interchangeable today and honestly they are long overdue for a reckoning which is going to result in carnage of a scale the retail landscape has not yet experienced. Bottom line is this-as a nation, WE ARE OVERSTORED-(and have been for some time.) I only use Macy's as an example but there are so many others in the same position.
Not only a destination, but enough of one that they replaced the original 2 story version that mirrored the Sears at the opposite end with a 3 story (at the time, the only part of the mall that had that third level) store and enlarged the mall in between using both the old Macy's space and additional connecting space.

Yes, their site still shows Crossgates, and I believe those are the only two remaining (next one south looks to be Poughkeepsie, not sure heading west, not showing anything north like Saratoga or Queensbury).
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Re: Dead/Dying Malls in Your Area and Predictions

Post by Romr123 »

Metro Detroit has traditionally not been an over-malled market...Dayton Hudson was quite disciplined in its' store opening cadence; it's issue is the income disparities and age/size of some of the malls, and there was no other large operator in the market (old Macy/May/ADG/Allied/CHH/BATUS/Mercantile; but Sears/JCP/Wards all were there) Further, with Taubman there the higher-end malls were pretty well looked after well into the 80s. D-H was also careful about putting only a single store out in the outstate Michigan cities (exce. pting Lansing and Grand Rapids, all the smaller cities had a single store in their malls) which has preserved viability of a single mall in places like Saginaw/Flint/Kalamazoo/Port Huron (which has crossborder shopping as well). That said, all that's left viable are Class A Somerset/Twelve Oaks/Briarwood and secondarily, class B Oakland and Southland. Ford Land has worked to keep some viability at Fairlane by moving some Ford employees there into the old Lord and Taylor, but it's tenuous as office space becomes less intensively used.
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Re: Dead/Dying Malls in Your Area and Predictions

Post by Romr123 »

Out in the Coachella Valley, where we're spending some time, Westfield Palm Desert is left with Macys/a gym/Barnes and Noble and I'm not sure what else...B&N is at street level while Macy's Furniture and Backstage is downstairs. The mall is sad looking...their record (!) store just left--it was a local guy who finally had had it with Westfield during the shutdown. The closure is being written about in the local alternative newspaper. Across the Hwy 111 is the upscale mall with Saks which seems to be doing better in a hybrid streetscape/mall setup. Formerly the valley was flanked with two junior malls in Indio and in Palm Springs proper, both of which are entirely shuttered. Rest of retail is big boxes and downtowns.
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Re: Dead/Dying Malls in Your Area and Predictions

Post by marshd1000 »

Here are my Seattle area predictions:

The Commons at Federal Way is losing Macy’s leaving Kohl’s and Target as the only “department store like” anchors. I predict that this will eventually become a open air box center with a town center aspect to it since Federal Way never had a traditional downtown. Maybe a Whole Foods Market could locate here and some housing.

Everett Mall and Cascade Mall in Burlington: Big box redevelopment.

Sears at Westfield Southcenter, bottom floor to become a Whole Foods Market with top levels hotels and or apartments.

Capital Mall, South Hill Mall, Bellis Fair Mall & Kitsap Mall don’t seem to be in dire condition yet. So I don’t see them going open air yet but possibly office, housing and lodging added. Bellis Fair also has the added advantage of getting Canadian shoppers when there is no COVID!

Marketplace at Factorial is already slated to de-malling!
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Re: Dead/Dying Malls in Your Area and Predictions

Post by veteran+ »

Romr123 wrote: February 22nd, 2021, 2:50 pm Out in the Coachella Valley, where we're spending some time, Westfield Palm Desert is left with Macys/a gym/Barnes and Noble and I'm not sure what else...B&N is at street level while Macy's Furniture and Backstage is downstairs. The mall is sad looking...their record (!) store just left--it was a local guy who finally had had it with Westfield during the shutdown. The closure is being written about in the local alternative newspaper. Across the Hwy 111 is the upscale mall with Saks which seems to be doing better in a hybrid streetscape/mall setup. Formerly the valley was flanked with two junior malls in Indio and in Palm Springs proper, both of which are entirely shuttered. Rest of retail is big boxes and downtowns.
I lived there for quite a while. The area's retail landscape is quite bizarre.

And that upscale Rodeo Drive wannabe.............El Paseo.......................LOL................no comment.

Clothes buying is quite challenging. Sizes and styles are comedic.
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Re: Dead/Dying Malls in Your Area and Predictions

Post by Super S »

marshd1000 wrote: February 22nd, 2021, 9:50 pm Here are my Seattle area predictions:

The Commons at Federal Way is losing Macy’s leaving Kohl’s and Target as the only “department store like” anchors. I predict that this will eventually become a open air box center with a town center aspect to it since Federal Way never had a traditional downtown. Maybe a Whole Foods Market could locate here and some housing.

Everett Mall and Cascade Mall in Burlington: Big box redevelopment.

Sears at Westfield Southcenter, bottom floor to become a Whole Foods Market with top levels hotels and or apartments.

Capital Mall, South Hill Mall, Bellis Fair Mall & Kitsap Mall don’t seem to be in dire condition yet. So I don’t see them going open air yet but possibly office, housing and lodging added. Bellis Fair also has the added advantage of getting Canadian shoppers when there is no COVID!

Marketplace at Factorial is already slated to de-malling!
I did notice that The Commons, when Kohl's came in, only updated the flooring etc. right in front of the Kohl's and did not extend that to the rest of the mall. You could be on to something. But Dick's Sporting Goods and the Daiso store at the other end (with an outside entrance but windows inside the mall) near the former Sears do bring some traffic to that end of the mall. So it's hard to tell. Overall, that mall has rebounded a bit since Target came in.
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Re: Dead/Dying Malls in Your Area and Predictions

Post by pseudo3d »

TW-Upstate NY wrote: February 22nd, 2021, 10:39 am Macy's is a great example of that. For years before the "one size fits all" mentality became all the rage when it came to store names, this area had one Macy's located in Colonie Center and that opened with the mall back in the later '60's and is still there today. It was said the only reason they located there in the first place was because either a friend or relative of a Macy's executive of the time who lived in the Albany area somehow convinced them to build that store. For years, it truly was a "destination" store and was probably one of the few Macy's outside of major metropolitan areas. Fast forward a few decades and along comes mergers, consolidations and buyouts which resulted in seemingly a Macy's on every corner and in markets they wouldn't of dreamed of being in if they remained a stand-alone company. Again going back to the Albany area, they once had I believe three Macy's in malls within probably less than 20 miles of each other after rebranding a couple stores that were picked up in various acquisitions over the years. And two of those stores (Colonie Center and Crossgates Mall) are within probably five miles or so of each other. The Rotterdam Square location closed some time ago and I'm too lazy to check but I think the Crossgates one is still open. All these combinations of banners and brands serve to do is "dumb-down" what were once upscale chains. They're virtually interchangeable today and honestly they are long overdue for a reckoning which is going to result in carnage of a scale the retail landscape has not yet experienced. Bottom line is this-as a nation, WE ARE OVERSTORED-(and have been for some time.) I only use Macy's as an example but there are so many others in the same position.
Like I said in this thread, I don't buy the "overstored" line right now because there's too many variables that make it the way it is (hedge funds, extremely high start-up costs for small businesses). At the same time, Macy's in particular has dropped the ball and in its acquisitions, particularly in the mid-2000s, added a tremendous amount of second-class stores and made way too many merchandise changes (not to mention names) that drove off customers. And speaking of stores, let's not even get into why Sears and Kmart got into the state they're in. Hint: their closed stores have nothing to do with being over-retailed.
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