The Average American Mall Explained In 6 Charts
Your definitive guide to shopping centers (or at least what's left of them)
Across the U.S., shopping malls have seen better, more lucrative days. Such traditional anchor tenants as Sears and J.C. Penney are hurting, putting entire shopping centers at risk. Consumer habits have changed, and the same people who begged their parents to let them browse Hot Topic and Aeropostale are now cheering on the mall's demise. Vacancy rates at regional malls (defined as large, enclosed centers, as opposed to strip malls) were 8 percent at the end of last year—up from 5.4 percent at the end of 2006, according to commercial real estate research firm Reis. And a mall without tenants is a hunk of concrete that's got a date with a wrecking ball. Dozens of malls have shuttered since 2010, and additional hundreds could close in the next decade.
Yet the mall persists. There are still more than 1,100 of them in the U.S., providing natural habitats to Sunglass Hut, Bath & Body Works, and all manner of specialty retailers, food court curiosities, and pimply teenagers. The following graphic is based on Bloomberg's analysis of 546 malls and 61,790 stores, representing the mall as it currently exists. Should it concern us that Moe's Southwest Grill is mostly confined to food courts in the Southeast, or that glow-in-the-dark mini-golf is less ubiquitous than pretzel stores? In a word, yes. But those are questions for another time. America, this is the state of your mall today.