Forums » Friday Polls

Friday Poll: Are Your Local Malls Thriving or Dying?

    • 1273 posts
    March 7, 2019 8:38 PM PST

    In a Business Insider article, Here's what could happen to America's hundreds of dead malls, Leanna Garfield discusses the change that has come to America’s malls with the decline of many major retailers - J.C. Penney, Sears, Payless Shoe Source, and more. She notes, "Traditional malls need to transform themselves to stay alive, and many are making changes to attract more business" - such as bringing in non-traditional occupants (walk-in clinics, churches, fitness centers, etc.), using mall atriums for fashion shows and other events, and hosting farmers' markets and concerts in mall parking lots.

    So for this week's poll question, we'd like to know:

    Are the malls in your area thriving or dying? As major retailers close their doors, have new stores or businesses moved in to take their place? How has your radio station helped your local malls to compete in a difficult retail economy?

    Looking forward to reading your replies!


    This post was edited by Rebecca Hunt at March 7, 2019 11:21 PM PST
    • 65 posts
    March 8, 2019 4:58 AM PST

    All dying except for one and it's getting a casino.  While we try to help the local mall, it is a losing battle.  The stores that were there, were national chains that don't or won't advertise locally.  That doesn't help.  The businesses that have moved in are shaky at best.  As a result, the mall is going the way of the dinosaur due to online sales.  As I've said a few times, I read an article, I'm guessing, about 4 years ago.  It said that, in 20 years, there will be no more retail stores.  As I watch more and more close, I believe that they are right.  Only 16 more years to go.  And without retail stores, it will be very difficult for small and midsize market stations to survive.  I'm not a pessimist.  I'm just stating facts.  We somehow have to adapt.  Stations will certainly need to think outside the box.  I'm curious to see ideas on how to keep afloat when everyone around you is going under.  Promotional ideas aren't my forte, so I hope some people out there have some thoughts on how to survive.   

    • 1273 posts
    March 8, 2019 7:44 AM PST

    From Barbara Scott : I see the malls Dying. VERY SAD! When Sears went away a hospital opened a medical facility in their place. I foresee that the entire mall will eventually be an arm of the UF medical school graduates who refuse to move away after completing their schooling. I would hate to see retail go away... I enjoy meeting the store owner and trying on the clothes, getting help from a savvy clerk, touching, feeling, smelling, sampling.... come on world... let's hold on to local business!

    • 2 posts
    March 8, 2019 9:50 AM PST

    Our mall in Paducah, KY is actually doing well.  Yes, it lost Sears and Payless Shoes, but it's gaining H&M, Burlington, Marshall's and a local hambuger "chain" is opening up their 4th location in the mall this Spring.  Most importantly we (our radio station) is in the mall.  Our neighbors are Dick's Sporting Goods and USA Nails.

    We work VERY closely w/ the mall's local marketing department (1 person and her asst.) to help promote their events, brainstorm things we can work on together and such.  I'm on my 4th mall marketing director and she's finally been the one to crack the nut of HQ someone loosening up on their rules.

    Brick & mortar stores are not going away 100%, but their reality is changing and is still in a state of flux.  Look at Amazon opening their own stores.  With what I have seen up close from working with our mall for 8 years, their problems are with the corporate HQs. Shock, I know.  The rent is exorbitant and that's what is going to keep smaller and non-traditional biz away.  Anyone that does come in (including the nat'l brands) believe that someone else (the mall, their own corporate, etc) is going to do something for them to promote. SMH.  Mall HQs generally also don't have a concept of what the LOCAL market is like, and so if it isn't from the corporate handbook that works in the Northeast, it's not a good thing.  But those are issues in radio too, sometimes.

    • 6 posts
    March 9, 2019 5:10 PM PST
    David Neely said:

    All dying except for one and it's getting a casino.  While we try to help the local mall, it is a losing battle.  The stores that were there, were national chains that don't or won't advertise locally.  That doesn't help.  The businesses that have moved in are shaky at best.  As a result, the mall is going the way of the dinosaur due to online sales.  As I've said a few times, I read an article, I'm guessing, about 4 years ago.  It said that, in 20 years, there will be no more retail stores.  As I watch more and more close, I believe that they are right.  Only 16 more years to go.  And without retail stores, it will be very difficult for small and midsize market stations to survive.  I'm not a pessimist.  I'm just stating facts.  We somehow have to adapt.  Stations will certainly need to think outside the box.  I'm curious to see ideas on how to keep afloat when everyone around you is going under.  Promotional ideas aren't my forte, so I hope some people out there have some thoughts on how to survive.   

     

    • 6 posts
    March 9, 2019 5:16 PM PST

    I know this is slightly off topic, but where I live, in regional town of 140000 in Australia, they have spent millions expanding the shopping centre in the CBD. After speaking to one of the tenants (who advertise on my station) he informed me that the rent is based on revenue, by percentage. This obviously ensures full tenancy for the operators, and in a healthy retail season, maybe even more revenue than 75% occupancy and fixed rental charges. This scenario may be a tester, as we are regional, but who knows, it mat change empty spaces in the future. 

    • 111 posts
    March 10, 2019 8:43 AM PDT

    Fort Wayne, Indiana, has seen a slow but steady decline of shopping malls.  We had two traditional full sized enclosed malls with department store anchors built in the 1960's on opposite sides of town.  By the turn of the century the Southtown Mall was a ghost town and eventually torn down.  Residential development stopped moving south and so the mall was on the outer perimeter, with farm land behind it.   Today the land has a Walmart and Menards on it.

    The Glenbrook Mall, built at the same time on the northside of Fort Wayne continues to evolve.  Sears just left and there are plans to tear down that anchor building and replace it with new retail and mixed use space including restaurants. 

    Most of the retailers in the mall are either national or small mom and pop places and they use their location in the mall (mall rent) as their marketing.  We don't deal with them locally.

    I have a local coin shop that moved out of Glenbrook 6 years ago into another retail shopping center and they DO use us to promote their location.

    About a dozen years ago an open air mall (Jefferson Pointe) opened up with mixed reviews.  During the winter months, the stores that were on the interior without easy access to parking suffer and many are empty.

    We have plenty of shopping centers that offer easy access to specific stores and a common parking lot and those do fine.  Several retailers in those locations use our stations.

    Glenbrook Mall owners have shown very little interest in promoting themselves with radio.  They want us to pay them to host events, (which we won't) and yet the local shop owners seem to be dissatisfied with the lack of external marketing that the mall owners are doing. 

    • 83 posts
    March 10, 2019 1:17 PM PDT

    I think it is fair to say malls are on life support. There are few exceptions. It seems to depend on the percentage of national tenants versus local and just how creative management is allowed to be in rent and marketing.

    When mall anchor Walmart decided to build a 'Super Center' the spot was quickly put to use with an arts and crafts and antiques 'cooperative' of sorts. Modeled after the antique store that sold spaces to various merchants with rent covering a couple of check-out counters staffed by the merchants themselves, it brought a good bit of foot traffic to the mall that was about 50% local and 50% chain shops. They also worked to host the local farmers market. 

    From the marketing end, the best I saw was used by Blanca Larson at Plaza del Sol Mall in Del Rio, Texas. Instead of just spending the mall budget to buy advertising to support the mail's monthly events, she offered 'Mall Co-op". The plan worked this way: the radio station was told the amount of money that would be spent by the mall in a given month. The radio station was given the dates spots were to air to promote a certain mall event. The radio station would determine the percentage of the mall's advertising budget merchants would get (ie: 20% with merchant paying 80%). Merchants had to agree to devote 20-25% of the 60 second unit promoting the mall event within their commercial. This was perfect as merchants wanted to be on the air for these traffic generating events and they saw the mall paying for a piece of their advertising as the mall really working for their success as well as getting them a bit of a rebate on the rent. So, it was possible for the station to generate $5,000 in billing from an initial order of $1,000. Sure the merchants would buy anyway but many had a tendency to pull dollars from other media where they didn't get 20% of their bill paid.

    Blanca kept it simple. There was no accounting of who bought what and exactly when spots aired. The general understanding was if the events were successful traffic generators the checks and balances were not much of a concern. The mall paid their bill, the merchants paid theirs. When we wrote the order we applied the discount on the amount due. This was a win-win for everyone. Literally it got to the point merchants would tell us how much they were going to spend the next month before we learned what the mall would spend. This allowed the radio station to adjust the co-op amount to accommodate all the merchants. Literally we get the co-op amount at 10 on Monday morning and have all the orders written before noon. It almost felt like winning the lottery on a bad sales month. 

     

    • 111 posts
    March 10, 2019 2:32 PM PDT

     Great Ideas, Bill Turner!


    This post was edited by Scott Howard at March 10, 2019 2:32 PM PDT