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Are shopping centers on the way out?

Not that long ago, shopping centers were popping up everywhere. Whether enclosed malls or destination-style strip malls, several stores under one roof were worthwhile investments in any reasonably-sized town.

For better or worse, the retail market has changed drastically over the last 20 years. As online shopping increased, the traffic in brick and mortar stores has decreased. While there are people who want to make immediate purchases, more consumers are looking for goods on different platforms.

This is what you should consider if you are thinking about investing in a shopping center.

What changed?

For more than three decades, malls and other shopping centers were the pinnacles of consumerism. In addition to stores, many malls included family-centered activities like ice skating rinks and mini-golf, with some going so far as to have an amusement park.

As the early 2000s drew to a close and online shopping became more efficient, the excitement of a trip to the mall began to wane. Rather than waiting weeks for an online purchase, you could get the same product delivered to your home in a matter of days.

As foot traffic decreased, the overhead that came with operating physical stores became overwhelming and unsustainable.

Can malls adapt to the change in retail?

With buildings already in place and owners in the middle of commercial leases, some owners are looking to utilize the space while staying true to a retail center concept.

In an age where family-friendly activities are no longer a priority, shopping center owners are investing in lifestyle centers to cater to a younger generation with few or no children. Rather than a large variety of stores, the alternatives are boasting a small upscale selection of shops that fit alongside features like spas and yoga studios.