May 27, 2018

Mall massacre: 75% of shopping malls will be wiped away

Around the world, an Apple store is a sign of retail health. Here, in Palo Alto, CA. Photo: Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

The death of the U.S. retail mall will be worse than forecast — with just a quarter of the current 1,200 or so surviving, says former J.C. Penney CEO Mike Ullman.

Quick take: Until now, most experts have said that a quarter of the malls will close. But, speaking on a panel at a conference at the Dallas Fed on technological disruption Thursday, 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.

The background: Rockport is the latest U.S. retail chain to file for bankruptcy, on top of 11 others this year, and Sears is closing another 40 stores, Business Insider reports. That is leaving gaping holes in malls.

How and why the survivors will make it: 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.

  • A mark of mall survival is the presence of an Apple or Tesla store. If a mall can attract one or both of those, it suggests it is viable, Ullman said.

Go deeper

The coronavirus is Trump's slow-burn crisis

Photo: Money Sharma/AFP/Getty Images

At 6:30 p.m. from the White House press room, President Trump will publicly make himself the face of America's response to the coronavirus crisis.

Why it matters: This is exactly the situation where a president needs the credibility to truthfully explain a tough situation to the public.

Obama demands South Carolina stations stop airing misleading anti-Biden ad

Photo: Samir Hussein/Samir Hussein/WireImage

Former President Obama's office is calling on South Carolina TV stations to stop running a misleading attack ad by a pro-Trump super PAC that uses Obama's voice out of context to make it appear as if he is criticizing Joe Biden and Democrats on race.

Why it matters: It's a rare intervention by Obama, whose former vice president is facing a critical primary in South Carolina on Saturday. Obama has said he has no plans to endorse in the Democratic field.

The megatrends that will shape the 21st century

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

An enormous amount of change has been crammed into the first two decades of the 21st century — but what’s coming next will break every speed record.

The big picture: The world is being buffeted by rapid yet uneven advances in technology that will revamp work and what it means to be human. At the same time, fundamental demographic changes will alter democracies and autocracies alike while the effects of climate change accumulate, physically redrawing our globe.