The New York Times hits the nail on the head with its story about how department stores have lost their clout with mall owners and other landlords in recent decades. The top malls have replaced failing department store anchors with discounters, movie theaters, fast-fashion operators, food courts, lifestyle components and small-shop collections. The weakest malls are saddled with the empty space.
“The recognition now is that you can’t have this long dragging tail and you’ve got to cut it off right now so you can concentrate on the best stores,” Bernard Sosnick, a retail analyst at Madison Global Partners, told the Times. “These are the retailers that went into the earliest shopping malls, and so have stores in malls that have been degraded tremendously over time, and that’s what you see being closed today.”
Sears, Macy’s and J. C. Penney, the biggest mall anchors, are also the most exposed to weak malls, according to Green Street Advisors. Macy’s will have shuttered nearly 200 locations since 2010 when it finishes the current round of closings. Today, it has 730 stores. J. C. Penney has 90 fewer stores than five years ago, while Sears Holding has closed 192 stores in the same period.