Indoor Malls – End of an Era?

I went to Tacoma Mall this week to pick up a few things.  Tacoma Mall was pretty marginal and struggling to ‘reinvent itself’ before COVID.  I think a number of malls are in re-invention mode. But it is looking like it this one is on its last leg!

The volume of foot traffic at the mall is gradually increasing but it is far from bustling.  Like I have noted before, the only busy business is the Apple Store.

I used to enjoy shopping at a mall as a pastime.  But another reason to go bricks and mortar is the ability to browse through a variety of merchandise and to try things on.  Neither are possible right now at Tacoma Mall. There are a lot of empty storefronts. Nordstrom has very little merchandise.  Macy’s has stuff, but it isn’t displayed very well.  And you can’t try things on at Macys!  So, I bought some things to try on at home and will need to return them.  This is now an errand that I dread.

On a side note, I was in the shoe department at Nordstrom at about 2 PM.  A guy who works in their café came down to chat with a buddy working in shoes.  I overheard him say that they had sold only $25 worth of food in the last hour.  I doubt that is very sustainable business model!

In all fairness, I haven’t been to Bellevue Square since the pandemic.  It is the flagship of the indoor mall fleet in the Puget Sound.  I don’t know how it is doing.  It might be faring better due to the variety of stores and the far more upscale environment.

I am not sure how even outdoor malls are going to weather the COVID storm. My husband went to University Village just after school started at UW (pictured above).  It was a beautiful, sunny day and the mall was far from buzzing.  But I do think the outdoor malls are going to fare a bit better because people may feel more comfortable in an open-air environment. Outdoor malls just aren’t that plentiful in the northwest due to our rainy weather.

I can’t help but think that COVID is going to hasten the demise of most indoor malls, particularly the marginal ones.  They were already struggling to compete with online shopping.  And if they can’t offer a wide variety of merchandise for one stop shopping, I am not sure people are going to make the trip, even die-hard shoppers like me!

King County COVID 19 data over the past 14 days (as of 10/14):

  • Positive tests – 2063 (2.4% positivity rate; up .1% over last week)
  • Hospitalizations – 60
  • Deaths – 20

Between September 11 and October 13, the University of Washington confirmed infections in 242 students belonging to 10 sororities and 7 fraternities.  The UW is considering a ‘harsher’ response to the Greek system.  And all this is while the Seattle Public Schools are operating remotely.  I certainly see why parents of school age (K-12) children are frustrated!

With new worries that we are having a resurgence of COVID 19, please stay the course by wearing a mask, physical distancing, avoiding crowds and washing your hands.

See you on Monday!

Allene

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