The Death Of Malls In America

Malls are filled with firsts—buying your first set of shoes, taking your first family photo and even meeting Santa for the first time. However, with technology introducing more purchasing power in less space, the role of malls is starting to shift.

Because of this shift, major department stores, like Macy’s and Sears, are shutting down. Recently, Macy’s announced that their historical store in downtown Miami will be closing and, according to the Miami Herald, it’s among the 100 stores, out of more than 700 stores under the Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s brands, that the retailer announced.

Even though Sears was known as a household name by the late 20th century, the retailer has been facing store closures left and right. Ultimately they too are dying, having closed more than 350 Sears locations, according to USA Today.  

Sears and Macy’s dominated their industry, becoming an essential part of American culture from Sears credit cards to Macy’s Thanksgiving parades. However, as these stores continue to close, the next question is: how will malls continue to exist?

These same giants are what malls consider “anchor stores,” meaning that when retailers sign on to have a store in a mall, other smaller stores will connect their contracts to the success of the main store. Which means that if these main stores end up closing, smaller business follow suit leading to malls dying.

For every Macy’s shutdown, not only do their employees lose jobs, so do the employees of the small businesses nearby, and, ultimately, less people will visit malls.

Will Dolphin Mall close soon though? Will Dadeland Mall close? How about The Falls? Each of these has experienced their own form of store closures. The death of malls in the United States is the symptom of a cultural shift, where the focus is more on a different form of quality time and trending name brands. As malls face closures, they need to decide what to do next. The next step is up for malls and the American public to decide.

Only a major cultural shift could cause such a dramatic change. The answer isn’t exactly phones though. Phones have allowed consumers the ability to purchase whatever item necessary whenever they please, and even compare prices while shopping in person. More than that, the experience of a mall being the place that anyone can shop for everything has changed. Today, maybe the mall isn’t the best place for a casual hangout, and friends don’t meet up to go out shopping, but maybe to go eat or enjoy activities.