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Reports of the Shopping Mall’s Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated


shopping mall, people counting, people counterAn August article in Time Magazine digs deeper into the health of the mall business in the United States. During the holiday shopping seasons over the past four years a common experience is to visit a shopping mall with light traffic and high vacancy (“where is everyone?”), and then cross town and visit a different mall jammed with shoppers, busy restaurants, and full parking lots. What is happening?

To start, vacancy rates of nearly 8.9% are indeed higher during the Great Recession. Normal vacancy rates are 5 to 6%, and new mall construction is rare. One economist’s view is that the changing economic profile of America is driving the overall mall business. Malls in middle and low income communities are struggling, whereas higher income consumers continue to spend disposable income. At their core, “malls have always been about more than the efficient delivery of goods. They’re about shopping as an experience. They’re about spending a Saturday out of the house, with friends and family, perusing goods, eating sweets, and people watching.” And this need for interaction, especially in suburban areas that developed without a downtown core, is here to stay. Learn more here.

ShopperTrak’s Traffic Report is one-of-a-kind report of the daily shopper visits in 225 distinct shopping areas and 25 metro areas. For example, a district manager responsible for twenty women’s apparel stores in the New York metro area can view how each of her store’s foot traffic trends compare to the nearby mall or overall New York market. If the Traffic Report notes that New York retail apparel foot traffic is up 5% year-to-date and her stores’ foot traffic is up 10%, then she knows that she is getting more than her fair share of foot traffic. However, if her stores lag the 5% uptick, then she can focus on recalibrating her marketing mix in order to better reach your audience. On a quarterly basis, metro market retail foot traffic trends can vary by as much as 30 percentage points. 

To learn more, visit ShopperTrak Business Analytics on the web.


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