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Can Grocery Stores Save the American Mall?

Under siege even before the pandemic struck, the suburban shopping meccas may have hit upon a survival strategy.

The high-end food chain Eataly, seen here inside the Westfield mall in New York’s World Trade Center complex, is one of many grocery chains that may help American malls survive.

The high-end food chain Eataly, seen here inside the Westfield mall in New York’s World Trade Center complex, is one of many grocery chains that may help American malls survive.

Photographer: Christopher Goodney

Between movie theaters, fitness centers and full-on amusement parks, American shopping malls have scrambled for years to attract new visitors to counter plummeting foot traffic. Even before the coronavirus struck, the concept of the mall—once so central to suburban life—was increasingly viewed as an anachronism.

Now, with pandemic precautions falling by the wayside and brick-and-mortar shopping eyeing a revival, it’s looking like there may be a strategy for the old standby to survive amid the hordes of Amazon delivery vans.