In the age of Amazon, many of the big box/anchor stores are shuttering their doors at a record pace, leaving retail mall owners and property managers with quite the conundrum; how does one fill those humongous spaces, and keep the mall alive? How can Budgetrac Software help with these current-day issues?
Thinking out of the (Big) Box in the Time of the Retail Apocalypse
“The Retail Apocalypse” refers to the former anchor stores at malls across America (retailers such as Macy’s, Sears and JC Penny, to name a few) condensing and consolidating, or even going out of business (like The Limited or HHGreg) as their business models have failed in the face of e-commerce. These are not small spaces; they were multiple floors tenants, averaging tens of thousands of square feet in those retail spots. Foot traffic was also generated by the big box stores; shoppers wouldn’t just stop at the major store, but also enter the mall and go to the different stores in the mall.
These changes to retail malls have to have the mall owners and property managers think about new, creative ways to keep their malls alive, current and with upsides. Some ways that can accomplish this involve the use of property management software solutions, such as Budgetrac software, but other methods include:
- Converting the anchor store spaces to residential
- In certain areas of the country, retail space heavily outweighs available residential inventory. If these former anchor store spaces were converted into apartments, this would have a doubling effect by lowering the available retail space, but also generating natural foot traffic into the retail mall by tenants. Not having to leave your place of residence to go to a Starbucks is a great amenity. Also, parking would not be an issue.
- The choices for eating at most retail malls comes down to food courts. However, Americans are spending more on eating out, and given a better choice of eating options, there would be more foot traffic to malls. While some restaurants wouldn’t need the space left empty by the anchor stores departure, some of the bigger chain restaurants and brew-pubs would be able to utilize much of the empty space.
How Retailers Can Benefit from Budgetrac Software
- Many malls already have movie theaters in them. Those that don’t could utilize this space by creating new ones. Children’s amusement centers are cropping up throughout the country, and certainly require the room offered by the former anchor store spaces for trampolines and field turf. A good example would be of one mall in Pennsylvania converted a former Dick’s Sporting Goods space into a go-kart track.
- Indoor sports facilities
- Indoor sports facilities need major room. Fitness centers can offer a plethora of classes due to the utilization of the empty space. Rock climbers needs to have height, and multiple-storied retail spaces fit the bill perfectly. Cycling would also need space for spreading out, and rows upon rows of stationary bikes can be easily accommodated in those spaces. To go even further out that thinking, indoor pools could be constructed… and so on.
- Grocery Stores
- This is an interesting choice, considering the recent Whole Foods/Amazon merger. However, people do prefer to shop for items that spoil, such as produce and meats- and certainly the convenience aspect of being able to shop for multiple items in one mall is very attractive. Many malls do have grocery stores as stand-alone structures, and those that don’t could look to attract supermarket chains to set-up shop in those large, empty spaces.
- Many of the above choices may not be possible due to an over-saturation of their markets. A cheap alternative might be to convert those huge spaces for warehousing/distribution center purposes. Of course, other factors would come into play such as proximity to major highways and accessibility to loading docks.
Ultimately, there is no perfect answer. Retail mall property managers and owners literally have to now think outside of the (big) box to combat “the Retail Apocalypse” to attract new anchors for their retail mall properties. However, there are options; it just depends upon which direction the retail mall wants to go in the future to stay viable and vibrant. For your own company, you could also consider the kind of solutions that are offered with Budgetrac software. Whether you need aid for property management or real estate development, Budgetrac software provides the high-tech power with the simplicity of being easy-to-use.