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Axios< reports that former JC Penney CEO Mike Ullman, at a recent conference on economic disruption, disputed projections from some quarters that roughly 25 percent of the nation’s 1,200 malls will close because of online competition and shifting consumer shopping habits.

It will, Ullman said, be much worse.

According to the story, “Ullman reversed the numbers, estimating that only about 300 malls will make it. The rest will close over the next five years, becoming victims of decades-long changes in consumer taste, including the recent impact of Amazonization … Ullman said malls must have adequate cash or access to financing to make the transition to a new style of retail, in addition to a location catering to the top income quartile.”

Indeed, Ullman said that for a mall to survive, it needs either an Apple Store or a Tesla store. Or, preferably, both.

Without those brands, Ullman suggested, a mall has an expiration date, and it isn’t that far down the road.
KC's View:
Wow. He’s even more cynical about this subject than I am.

I think he may be too pessimistic…because he doesn’t factor into his thinking the possibility that more malls than expected might actually adapt new business models and attract different sorts of businesses in order to stay viable and sustainable.

I do agree, however, that there are certain businesses almost necessary to keep a mall viable. I’ve always noticed that even in the most desolate mall, the Apple Store and Starbucks generally are doing some business.