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Could new ways to shop retail put malls out of business?

Many California residents believe that online shopping is the best thing since sliced bread. No more battling traffic and crowds in order to shop, and the goods are delivered right to the front door. While this immensely popular way to shop retail is good for consumers, could it mean the end of malls?

Malls used to be the place to go to shop since they provided a cool or warm and dry place to shop at many stores. Large anchor stores capped off wings with numerous small shops lining the way. Food courts provided hungry shoppers with a respite before they continued their shopping. Parents would drop off teens who would hang out in malls for hours at a time. People used malls as a place to get exercise since they could walk regardless of the weather outside.

However, it did not take long for online shopping to supplant the need for malls. In addition, other stores now carry similar wares for lower prices, which makes sense in a seemingly more budget-conscious society. Many malls across the country, including here in California, have gone out of business or dwindled down to a point where they remain nearly empty even during peak hours and times of year. Smartphones and social media provide avenues of communication for teens that do not require a curfew or a road trip.

Where does this leave retail hubs such as malls and shopping centers? No one yet knows for sure. Developers may need to find other projects that can garner the attention of those spending the money. In any case, when it comes time to figure out the next step, many developers may need help in ensuring that their latest projects not only meet the qualifications for success, but also the legal qualifications that go along with nearly every project.

Source: wwd.com, "How the Mall Fell Out of Fashion", Misty White Sidell, Dec. 29, 2017

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