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The Business Insider reports that American families are no longer packing up and spending their evenings and weekends shopping at the suburban mall, and it is expected that 25 per cent of the suburban malls in the United States, approximately 300 will be losing their anchor stores as the mainstream retailers like “Macy’s, JC Penney and Sears shutter hundreds of stores to staunch the bleeding from falling sales.”

“When anchor stores close, it can be hard to find businesses to replace them, because they occupy the multistory buildings at mall entrances that are often at least 100,000 square feet. If no replacement tenant is found, the loss could trigger a decades long downward spiral for the shopping mall and surrounding communities.”

Malls do not die quickly-they wither as stores are closed. “Within the last couple of months, several mall-based stores — including American Apparel, Abercrombie & Fitch, The Limited, Bebe, BCBG, and Wet Seal — have announced mass closures.”

Mall consultants say that the rise of online shopping and a change in consumer preferences are the main reasons for the decline of the mall. “Studies show that Americans are increasingly choosing to spend money on technology and experiences like vacations over apparel. When they shop for clothing, an increasing number of them are going to discount stores like TJ Maxx or ordering from Amazon.”  The proliferation of cheaper dollar stores and discount clothing stores has also enhanced the decline.

To counter this trend  ” experiential retail“, creating a mix of pubs, restaurants, theatres, trampoline areas and laser tag locations in malls is being instituted. The challenge is to create an experience that cannot be duplicated by the internet. ” That’s becoming our big competitor now — the web. We want to give people real life experiences.”