The American Mall Is Suffering A Slow, Excruciating Death

The mall was the pinnacle place to hang for many growing up. Not only could you shop so many different stores for cute clothes, but you could also hang around gossiping at the food court — the whole thing was almost like a big party. But vacancies in U.S. malls are the highest in 6 years, as the decline of the American mall continues.

Vacancies shot up to 8.4% in the first quarter of 2018 — the highest since 2012’s fourth quarter, according to real estate firm Reis. And 20-25% of all malls are expected to close within 5 years, according to credit Suisse in May 2017.

To get the vacancy number, Reis studied 77 metro areas. 41 of them saw an increase in vacancy in the last year. These numbers highlight major changes in how people are spending their money, often called, “The Amazon Effect.” According to a 2016 Pew Research Study, 79% of U.S. consumers have made an online purchase — a 22% jump from 2000.  Although retail real estate is changing, new tenants like grocery stores and gyms are often taking over the empty spaces that one housed bankrupt businesses. But there’s little hope that trend could save the American mall.