Skip to main content

Internet-Proofing Malls

A interesting article in the New York Times today on the future of malls:
Glimcher Realty Trust, which owns and manages shopping malls, is experimenting with making them Internet-proof. The company concedes that if shoppers can buy something online, they will. So it is trying to fill one of its malls, in Scottsdale, Ariz., with businesses that do more than sell stuff. 
There are still clothing-only retailers at the mall, Scottsdale Quarter, but more than half of the stores offer dining or some other experience that cannot be easily replicated on the Web. That has Glimcher executives taking some unconventional approaches to finding suitable tenants — like testing out laser salons, getting hairstyling lessons and watching movies in a theater that serves food.
Matt Yglesias and others have been talking about the "end of retail" for a while now and I'm on board. There's just no way brick-and-mortar stores can compete with the convenience of online shopping, especially when there is no sales tax (though that may change soon). So Glimcher is certainly smart to consider filling the mall with attractions that cannot be done online.

This seems to me to be the future of where activities and shopping are going. Cities exist so that everything is clustered and that makes business, among other things, much quicker and easier. Why shouldn't activities be the same? Instead of driving from the bowling alley to the crafts store to the movie theater, it would be a lot easier if they were located in one area with an abundance of restaurant options and you could walk from. This seems to be exactly what Glimcher has in mind.

The next question I have is whether it's possible to attract enough customers to fill a mall and cover the costs of running it. I'm not so sure on that front, but it looks like we're going to find out.

Comments

  1. I don't see what Glimcher is doing in Scottsdale as anything more than embellishing today's mall experience.

    As you accurately note in your comment, the density of cities allows for many things to be closely grouped together.

    But, the curated selection of mall stores is almost always worse than the self-selection of stores in the city.

    I don't see Glimcher or others changing things enough so that the effects of this self-segregation don't reproduce the banalities of the standard shopping mall experience.

    (BTW, you have a software bug in the code that runs this text edit box. It occasionally doubles up, or changes the sequence of, typed characters.)

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Why Did Reality Winner Leak to the Intercept?

So Reality Winner, former NSA contractor, is in federal prison for leaking classified information — for five years and three months, the longest sentence of any whistleblower in history. She gave documents on how Russia had attempted to hack vendors of election machinery and software to The Intercept, which completely bungled basic security procedures (according to a recent New York Times piece from Ben Smith, the main fault lay with Matthew Cole and Richard Esposito), leading to her capture within hours. Winner recently contracted COVID-19 in prison, and is reportedly suffering some lingering aftereffects.
Glenn Greenwald has been furiously denying that he had anything at all to do with the Winner clusterfuck, and I recently got in an argument with him about it on Twitter. I read a New York story about Winner, which clearly implies that she was listening to the Intercepted podcast of March 22, 2017, where Greenwald and Jeremy Scahill expressed skepticism about Russia actually being be…

On Refusing to Vote for Bloomberg

Billionaire Mike Bloomberg is attempting to buy the Democratic nomination. With something like $400 million in personal spending so far, that much is clear — and it appears to be working at least somewhat well, as he is nearing second place in national polls. I would guess that he will quickly into diminishing returns, but on the other hand spending on this level is totally unprecedented. At this burn rate he could easily spend more than the entire 2016 presidential election cost both parties before the primary is over.

I published a piece today outlining why I would not vote for Bloomberg against Trump (I would vote for Sanders, Warren, Buttigieg, Klobuchar, or Biden), even though I live in a swing state. This got a lot of "vote blue no matter who" people riled up. They scolded me and demanded that I pre-commit to voting for Bloomberg should he win the nomination. The argument as I understand it is to try to make it as likely as possible that whatever Democrat wins the nomi…

Varanus albigularis albigularis

That is the Latin name for the white-throated monitor lizard, a large reptile native to southern Africa that can grow up to two meters long (see pictures of one at the Oakland Zoo here). In Setswana, it's called a "gopane." I saw one of these in my village yesterday on the way back from my run. Some kids from school found it in the riverbed and tortured it to death, stabbing out its eyes, cutting off its tail, and gutting it which finally killed it. It seemed to be a female as there were a bunch of round white things I can only imagine were eggs amongst the guts. I only arrived after it was already dead, but they described what had happened with much hilarity and re-enactment.

When I asked why they killed it, they said it was because it would eat their chickens and eggs, which is probably true, and because it sucks blood from people, which is completely ridiculous. It might bite a person, but not unless threatened. It seems roughly the same as killing wolves that e…