Here are some of the steps of proactive mall owners taking to woo today’s shoppers.It’s no secret that the shopping mall landscape of today is much different than the landscape of years past. There are many various reasons for that, but changes in the overall retail environment and the preferences of shoppers are at the top of the list. That’s led many owners to get proactive to keep the foot traffic steady. As the New York Post shares, here are some of the steps they’re taking to woo today’s shoppers.
There’s been a ton of chatter about malls leaning on entertainment and experiential businesses as a way to make their properties more of a destination. Joshua Stein, a New York City real estate lawyer, notes that mall owners have had a bit of an a-ha moment in the face of rising competition from e-commerce retailers.
“Mall owners are trying to sell something that you can’t buy at Amazon,” he said.
Stein is speaking from experience, as he recently represented an experiential business known as Gloveworx in a lease with Westfield. Glovework is a boxing studio that was founded by former US national heavyweight boxer Leyon Azubuike, who sounds pretty pleased to be doing his part to help malls make a comeback. “I never imagined that I’d be part of the rebirth of a shopping center,” he said.
David Ruddick, Westfield’s executive vice president of leasing, notes that Gloveworx is just one piece of the company’s overall strategy. “We have a serious commitment to this category of fitness,” Ruddick said. “It’s everything from the fitness studio to the shake you have afterward.”
Another business that’s gaining some traction is Punch Bowl Social, a restaurant chain that offers bowling, table tennis, pool, arcade games and karaoke. “We are one of the first phone calls to be an anchor tenant in these lifestyle centers,” noted the chain’s chief executive, Robert Thompson. “They come to us early and put us on their tenant lists to get others signed on.”
The Denver-based chain is more than capable of filling the anchor spot, as these massive restaurants span a huge 25,000-square- feet. Last year, Punch Bowl Social moved into a former Nordstrom store at Simon Properties’ Circle Centre Mall. Additional deals are in the works with Simon, as well as with mall developer GGP.
Consumer preferences are changing, and malls need to change right along with them. While that may mean a rethinking of things and a change in perception on what works in the confines of a mall, the effort is well worth it.