Malls Are Changing, but Not Necessarily Shrinking

Earlier this week, a New York City based company opened the doors to a new kind of shopping mall experience. HiO is a new concept by Direct Brands Group, an international business and e-commerce intermediary helping foreign brands enter the US market.

The mini retail conglomerate, located inside of the City Point shopping complex in the heart of Brooklyn, is home to nine different international brands. Many of these are doing business stateside for the first time.

Consumers have access to products ranging from makeup to embroidered handbags and even soap and fragrances. HiO is a greater reflection of the current struggles many international businesses have setting up brick and mortar shops in the United States following waves of big-name store closures and bankruptcies.

Now, as with HiO, many other businesses and commercial real estate investors are seeking to find new, creative ways to attract consumers away from their homes and back into the shopping mall. While the number of shopping malls has grown marginally over the last decade, global financial services giant Credit Suisse released a grim forecast on the future of America’s malls.

According to the report, up to 25 percent of shopping malls across the country will shut their doors by 2025. To combat this, industry experts are focusing more on the experience than on the accessibility.

Consumer Engagement Spaces, or CESs, is one of the latest ways the retail industry is rebranding itself. Rather than focus specifically on retailers and food services, these CESs are seeking to change the way, and reason, people in 2018 go out to the mall.

Destination centers have become a particularly successful innovation. These centers are marketed as not just a place to shop and unwind, but as viable weekend getaways with attractions like theme parks, museums, live music, and even indoor ski slopes.

The Mall of America is a famous example of these centers. These super-sized versions of shopping malls are the antithesis of Hio’s design, but remain a popular tourist and leisure destination. Similar centers are currently being built in Miami and New Jersey, and although the sheer size of these complexes limit the construction of more throughout the US, they provide a new hope for business owners that the future of the American shopping mall might remain a popular and prosperous one.


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