Malls may not even need anchors. Here's why.
| Department stores used to drive traffic, but now they're just a drag.
（GJZ）-----In the mid-20th century, department stores had valuable amenities: big spaces with varied assortments, savvy merchandisers, attentive store associates and the fierce loyalty of their customers. The huge customer traffic has made their sales more than adequate.
But consumers are losing their attachment to department stores, so traffic has dwindled. And also, inevitably, chased specialty stores away from malls as well. In 2019,
Gap's CEO said the traffic declines had rendered malls the "wrong locations" for stores. Last year, a new CEO said the company would close 350 Gap and Banana Republic stores and switch to a plan where 80% of the fleet would be found at strip centers, city centers and outlets by 2023.
Even an easing of the epidemic and an economic recovery in the United States will only slow the decline of department stores and shopping malls that have no purpose to go anywhere.
"We are being proactive in looking to replace department stores where we see the opportunity." Stephen LebovitzCEO, CBL PropertiesCBL, which went bankrupt last year, has recruited a hotel, mall, restaurant and casino to increase foot traffic.
However.Greg John, chief marketing officer of private commercial property developer Waterstone Properties, says the most effective alternative may be no alternative at all. Retail will simply be an attraction in community-oriented places where people live, work and play. "It's not about the anchor anymore," John said. "It's creating an experience with different elements -- residential, event, retail. It's not going to a store, it's going to a place."