The Great American Shopping Mall: Past, Present, and Future

(Source) The first shopping mall opened in 1956. From then on, the number of shopping malls grew exponentially each year. From 1970 to 2002, over 800 shopping malls were built in the United States. However, shopping mall growth began to stagnate in the 2000s. Various external factors were developing in the 2000s which may have played a role in the gradual decline of shopping malls, such as growing e-commerce, developers preferring open-air shopping centers, and competition with newer malls. This decline was exacerbated by the 2008 financial crisis. As consumers were struggling financially, retail sales declined. Department stores, which played a large role in bringing in consumers, began declaring bankruptcy and closing their stores. Landlords had trouble securing capital and refinancing debt. All of these factors led to many retail store bankruptcies and closures following the 2008 financial crisis, further propelling the decline of shopping malls. More recently, the COVID-19 pandemic has again put a significant strain on shopping malls. In March 2020, shopping malls were shut down and would not reopen for many months. For example, some shopping malls in New York were only beginning to partially open in July 2020.  E-commerce, which was already growing year-over-year, grew even [read more]