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Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios
COLUMBUS, Ohio — The inventor of the open-air mall has a new idea — the mall that you never leave.
Axios' Erica Pandey reports: Yaromir Steiner is trying out his newest brainchild here in Columbus — a town-in-a-mall with 700 apartments, along with almost any sort of shop that might strike you. Working against him this time, though, is a national wave of millennials moving into cities, not suburbia — not to mention the burning question: Are there really 700 Columbians dying to live in a mall?
The backdrop: Many U.S. malls are failing — as of last year, there were about 1,200, and analysts say perhaps a quarter will close over the next four or so years.
But, but, but: Steiner's vision is to beef up Columbus' already-sprawling Easton Town Center, which is among the U.S. malls that still thrive, as brick-and-mortar retail continues to account for some 90% of U.S. retail spending.
By the numbers: Steiner co-developed Easton starting two decades ago on a 90-acre spread of land. It already contains a dizzying 240 stores. In addition to new apartments, Easton developers are adding a new hotel and 16 more acres of retail and office space.
The mall is built around walkable squares and main streets, instead of in a big concrete box.
Steiner says that neither the e-commerce juggernaut nor the mall implosion daunt him.
"Easton was set up for the e-commerce future 20 years ago. We are online proof."— Yaromir Steiner
China has all but stopped buying American soybeans, which — in a circuitous new global legume market — are now going to South America, when they are not being thrown into storage in wait of an end to the trade war.
The big picture: With the reduced Chinese demand, the U.S. has begun exporting soybeans to Brazil and Argentina in larger volumes.
The uptick in Argentina’s soy imports is relatively modest for now, said Pat Westhoff, director of the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute at the University of Missouri.
The bottom line: This detour hurts the American soybean industry, said Taheripour. "Our farmers will receive a lower price for their products."
Photo: David Ramos/Getty
If you were thinking only of the coming holiday and not the news, stop fretting — here are the top Future stories for the week.
1. Forecasters and historians: Searching the past for clues to the future
2. New U.S. export controls: Seeking to contain Chinese tech
3. Redividing the world in two: The coming American and Chinese cantons
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
A flowchart dummy's guide to AI (Karen Hao — MIT Tech Review)
Driverless cars save fewer lives than expected (Alison Snyder, Joann Muller — Axios)
Buying Amazon on Amazon (John Herrman — NYT)
$17 toothpaste (Amanda Mull — The Atlantic)
Middle-income Silicon Valley wages shrank (Louise Auerhahn et al. — Working Partnerships)
Amazon pop-up in Milan. Photo: Mairo Cinquetti/NurPhoto/Getty
For many traditional retailers, 2018 was another tough year. Sears and Toys "R" Us went bankrupt, and the market punished Macy's and Target for sales that were strong, but not strong enough.
Erica writes: But two days from now, Black Friday will kick off the holiday shopping season — a nationwide, monthlong spending spree that analysts say may pull some of the companies out of hot water.
The big picture: Americans will spend an average of $1,007 each this holiday season, per the National Retail Federation. That's a 4.1% jump from last year, which is why analysts are signaling a long-awaited good season for beaten-down retailers.
Top sellers: Per Adobe, the hottest toys are L.O.L. Surprise! dolls and Fingerlings and Little Live Pets stuffed animals. Among electronics, Amazon's Fire TV and Echo are already big sellers. The video game consoles Nintendo Switch, NES Classic and Xbox One X are also selling well.