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CambridgeSide Finds Perfect Balance To Resonate With Today’s Shoppers

The mall draws more than 7 million visitors a year to its mix of mid-market storefronts.
Finding the right balance in a shopping mall or center can be awfully challenging in today’s retail environment, but landlords that manage to do it continue to reap the rewards. One mall that has been able to do just that is CambridgeSide, an urban shopping center in Cambridge, Massachusetts that features more than 120 stores and restaurants. 


As the Boston Globe shares, mall owner New England Development isn’t resting on its laurels. The mall is in the midst of a $30 million reinvention, which will include new floor tiles, escalators, and energy-efficient lighting. The project is scheduled to be completed by the end of the year, but it doesn’t sound like it’s interrupting normal operations too much.   

“CambridgeSide draws more than 7 million visitors a year to its mix of mid-market storefronts, said New England Development’s senior vice president, Issie Shait, and has consistently had occupancy rates in the mid- to high-90 percent range,” the Globe reports.  

So obviously foot traffic is not an issue for CambridgeSide, but are shoppers spending inside? The answer is a resounding yes. 

“At CambridgeSide, the average shopper spends $144.83 per visit, approximately 45 percent higher than the US average. Similar class A malls account for about 70 percent of all US mall sales,” the Globe continues. “It’s the far more isolated, anchor-dependent suburban malls that get the C and D grades and are struggling to survive.”

As Leon Nicholas, the chief insights officer at Kantar Retail, CambridgeSide has found the perfect formula to succeed in the area, and there’s no sign of interest waning at all. 

“The death of brick-and-mortar is highly exaggerated. There is no question that it is one of the better mall properties regarding its performance around the country,” he said. “You have an urban-accessible mall that is surrounded by young, relatively affluent people who are drawn not to the anchors but the specialty retail in between.”

Jeff Donnelly, a retail analyst at Wells Fargo, hits similar notes while chiming in on CambridgeSide’s stunning success. 

“I think everyone aspires to luxury, but the vast majority of people in the US shop right in the middle, which kinds of positions them as unique,” he said. 

There are some fantastic takeaways in those sentiments that should resonate with all landlords. While it may seem like an oversimplification, only giving shoppers in the area what they can work wonders regarding foot traffic and sales.  

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