ANTI-MALLS ARE THE NEW MALLS
Based on the case of metro Washington, D.C., this article by Kaid Benfield in The Atlantic Cities suggests that suburbs have now figured out that walkable retail, not enclosed big box stores surrounded by parking lots, is the best way to go. In other words, proclaims the staff of D.C.-area magazine Washingtonian, ”anti-malls are the new malls.” The magazine goes on to suggest that the decline of malls reflects macroeconomic forces, which along with generational changes have changed retail geography and culture:
- The stock market crash of 2008 dampened consumer spending.
- Around the same time, many retailers over-expended their chains, in effect causing “them to go from ‘exclusive’ to ‘a commodity.’”
- The millennial generation is less interested in “stuff” and more interested in “experiences.”
- "18 percent of shopping today is done online." Before 2008, "5 percent of sales could be attributed to online shopping."
The effect is that retail in general “is going to be smaller in the future, not larger,” according to Bruce Leonard, a development analyst. On the bright side, the more walkable, lifestyle-oriented retail can be quite successful in the new century, if well planned. Stay tuned!