Shopping malls can no longer rely solely on retail; the future belongs to mixed-use entertainment complexes.
One of the most popular malls in Canada, West Edmonton Mall, has bet on the concept of an entertainment complex instead of just a retail development. This path has become an example for other malls worldwide to ensure survival and sustainability even in difficult times like pandemics.
West Edmonton Mall, which is the largest mall in the country, covers an area of 490,000 square meters. It has retail space, including major retailers such as Louis Vuitton and Uniqlo. However, a large part of the space is devoted to various entertainment activities, for which the whole family can take part. It features a huge indoor amusement park, Galaxyland, the second largest in the world in its category after Ferrari World, a golf course, an indoor water park with various water attractions. It is also the second-largest in the world.
There is also a hotel, gym, theater, nightclub, and many other attractions, turning the mall into a small town with its amenities, which can take hours, if not days.
The approach is based on giving visitors to the mall many reasons to visit besides the shopping itself. Such a concept, which involves creating not just shopping spaces but multifunctional entertainment centers, where retail will be only one of the components, is one of the most promising for malls. Shopping malls are experiencing an outflow of visitors and must reckon with changing shopping habits due to the pandemic and the shift in sales to online retail.
That was the idea behind the American Dream megamall in New Jersey, U.S., which, like West Edmonton Mall, is owned by Triple Five Group. It also relies on it for other large-scale projects to be developed in future years.
But it's not just large megamalls that can use the concept implemented at West Edmonton Mall. Even smaller malls can focus on opening additional entertainment areas, like a new restaurant or playground, instead of opening another retail gallery.
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