With major department stores and smaller retailers feeling the pressure from online giants like Amazon, and now the coronavirus - are big indoor malls in Central New York headed toward their own apocalypse?

The demise of the American mall has been a topic of discussion for years, but that talk has sped up since coronavirus forced the closure of malls across the United States.

Shoppers are increasingly turning toward the convenience of online shopping at stores like Amazon and Walmart.com - leading to financial distress or disaster for big retailers, like JC Penney - who recently filed bankruptcy and is closing stores in New Hartford and Syracuse, and Macy's, who say they lost $1.1 billion during the shutdown.

The LA Times speculates the way we shop has been forever changed by the coronavirus, and notes that retailers nationwide are attempting to renegotiate leases with malls, or are just not making lease payments. "Recent research from Green Street Advisors, a real estate research firm, shows that over 50% of department stores anchoring malls across the country will close within the next two years — fast tracking disruptions that had been expected to take five to six years to play out," reports The Herald.

So, will we see our local malls change drastically - like Riverside did when it converted from an indoor mall to a bog box center - or will they simply fade away, like nearby mall Shoppingtown?

The other question whose answer remains to be seen is whether consumers are ready to return to mall shopping. Will shoppers return in droves to malls like Destiny and Sangertown, or will we stick with curbside delivery and ordering online?

A more encouraging view is the pandemic turning consumer attention toward small business and an emphasis on "shopping local."

What's your opinion? Do you think malls will see a resurgence as we try to get back to "normal" or are they retail dinosaurs, that must either adapt or die? Let us know beth@lite987.com


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