Thanks for Visiting!

Register for free to get the full story.

Sign Up
Already have a account? Log In

Indoor / Outdoor Malls - September Update

Ethan Chernofsky
September 24, 2020
Indoor / Outdoor Malls - September Update

In July, we broke down the relative recoveries of outdoor and indoor shopping centers and found that, perhaps unsurprisingly, the former were recovering faster. The combination of shoppers’ concerns about COVID, limitations on which retailers were reopening, and other factors gave outdoor centers an advantage during the early stages of the recovery.

Yet, indoor malls were still showing signs of their unique strengths: the ability to drive visits from farther distances, and to keep those visitors in their locations longer. And this is a critical advantage because it unlocks the full power of indoor shopping centers to provide more than just revenue, but also uniquely-effective marketing and cross-shopping opportunities.

So, how are things looking now? We dove back into the same index of shopping centers to see if there has been a shift in the numbers.

Recovery Period Still Privileging Outdoor Shopping Centers

In terms of overall customer visits compared to 2019 levels, outdoor shopping centers have remained far closer to “normal.” The week beginning August 31st saw visits down 24.6% for outdoor centers, while indoor malls were down 37.2%. Yet, this marked an improvement, for both, from early June. Outdoor centers improved from 34.2% down the week beginning June 8th, while indoor centers improved to 42.1% down that same week, a near 5.0% improvement.

Critically, the latest week did not mark the high point for either. Both segments saw their best period for visits coming the week beginning August 17th, with indoor malls down just 17% year-over-year. And this was actually the strongest year-over-year decline number for either type of shopping center since the pandemic struck in early March. That same week, foot traffic at outdoor centers was down just 18%. 

Caliber of Visits Still Favor Indoor

This seasonal push for indoor shopping centers during the summer’s back-to-school shopping season is something we saw play out in other metrics as well.

While outdoor centers again proved to be better at driving overall visitor numbers, the “type” of visit still differed greatly. Looking at the week beginning August 31st, visits to indoor centers were 11.1% longer than those to outdoor centers. And while this was down from being 25.5% longer the week beginning June 8th, durations shortened after indoor centers saw strength in early to mid-August. During this period, visits were 25.4% longer — almost the exact same level above they had been in early June.

Additionally, shoppers traveled from longer distances to visit indoor shopping centers. The True Trade Area of indoor malls was 78.6% larger than that of outdoor centers during the week of August 31st. This was slightly narrower than the 87.8% gap in early June. But during the weeks in early and mid-August, there were gaps that were almost identical to those seen in June, with the week of August 3rd showing a difference of 25.4% in True Trade Area size.

Why Does this Matter?

These numbers go a long way in explaining a critical trend that could define the next few years of offline retail. Classic mall retailers, like Macy’s, have already announced that they’ll be trying out new outdoor shopping center formats. That makes sense, as the company looks to diversify its reach and approach in order to drive more visits and revenue.

But the opposite could happen, too. Outdoor-oriented retailers could come indoors because there are features that the traditional mall can provide that other centers simply can’t. From marketing reach, to cross-shopping potential, to access to different types of customers, malls have a clear value that they bring to the retail sector. And this will be compounded by the entry to new DTC and product-oriented brands that will likely try to establish retail space in shopping malls first due to their customer reach.

The Future State

Some shopping malls will likely close in the near future. But it doesn’t mean that the shopping mall itself is a dead retail concept. 

Malls will evolve, adding new tenants and different types of space. They will, however, need to develop a mix that includes more complementary mall experiences and less direct competition. That is becoming increasingly likely. The exit of older, established retailers is going to force mall management to think differently, and those that adapt could lead the way in driving a new, improved, and certainly more exciting future for a dated retail format.

Get 3 brand & industry
breakdowns every week

Subscribe to the newsletter

Great! Prepare your inbox for data-driven insights...
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Get a Demo

Please enter your first name
Please enter your last name
Please provide a valid email
Please enter your email
Please enter company name

Thanks for reaching out!

One of our experts will be in touch soon

Try Free
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
The Promise of Luxury Apparel
Catching Up With Ulta Beauty & Gap Brands
Ollie’s Bargain Outlet and Five Below: Q1 2024 Treasure Troves
CAVA Still Going Strong
Driving Success: Auto Parts Chains in 2024
Checking in With DICK’S Sporting Goods
Mother’s Day Shopping and Dining Trends Mall Index: April 2024 Recap – Retail Resilience Heading into Spring
Dollar Stores Still Gaining Momentum
Off-Price Apparel Chains After Q1 2024: Demographics in the Balance
Walmart, Target, and Wholesale Clubs Continue to Thrive
Home Improvement and Decor Check In Office Index: April 2024 Recap – Recovery Continues
Movie Theaters in Q1 2024: A Preview of Coming Attractions?
Let’s Get Physical: Fitness In 2024
Where Are Workers Returning to Office in 2024?
2024 Wins: Sweetgreen & First Watch on the Rise
A Full-Service Turnaround: Bloomin’, Dine, and Texas Roadhouse
Wendy’s and Denny’s: Breakfast and Late Night Dining Drives Success
Coffee Chains: Q1 2024 Update and What’s Changed Since COVID
Checking in with RBI and YUM!
Chipotle & McDonald's Serving Up Success
Wingstop & Shake Shack Continue Growing Their Reach 
Strong Start for Sprouts in 2024
Crocs’ Footwear Fairytale
Who Attends NCAA Final Four Events?
Eclipse Fever: How Did the (Retail and Hospitality) Stars Align?
Exploring Albertsons Companies’ Grocery Growth Mall Index: March 2024 Recap – Malls Rise Again Office Index: March 2024 Recap
Florida Spring Break Break-Up? Travelers Still Love Florida!
Provo-Orem and Ogden-Clearfield Emerging As Utah Hotspots 
Three Formulas for Experiential Retail in 2024
Aldi & Lidl Making The Cut
Texas Suburbs on the Rise
Exploring Luxury Hotel Brands’ Guest Segmentation
The St. Patrick’s Day Effect
How Can JOANN Make a Comeback?
Panera Bread Well Positioned for Possible IPO
Who Will Benefit From Family Dollar’s Downsizing?
Dave & Buster’s and Main Event Entertainment: Food and Fun for Everyone
Darden Brands: Location Analytics and Consumer Behavior
Nike and lululemon: a Strong 2023, Sprinting into 2024
Where Is Retail and Dining Foot Traffic Thriving in Early 2024? White Paper Recap – February 2024
Three Retail & Dining Chains That May Surprise in 2024
Specialty Discount Chains Rock Retail Therapy Mall Index: February 2024 Office Index: February 2024 Recap
Ulta Beauty Continues To Shine
First Watch Sails Into 2024
Hibbett Sports and DICK’S Sporting Goods: A Psychographic Analysis
Checking in With Discount & Dollar Stores
Peeking Behind The Curtain: Movie Theaters in 2023 and Beyond
Diving Into Brick-and-Mortar Eyewear
Getting Into Gear: Exploring The Auto Part Industry
Recapping Valentine’s Day 2024 Foot Traffic Trends
Fitness: A Strong Start to 2024
Dutch Bros. Continues To Percolate Visits
Super Bowl 2024:’s Postgame Foot Traffic Analysis
CAVA & sweetgreen Are On the Rise
Hats Off For Off-Price
Who Is Shopping at Malls?
Drilling Down Into Home Improvement
Walmart, Target, Costco & Superstore Space 2023 Recap
Catching Up With Shake Shack and Wingstop
Something To Chew On: Demographic Shifts at Steakhouse Chains Office Index: Looking Back at 2023
Recapping RBI & Yum! Brands’ 2023 Foot Traffic Performance White Paper Recap – January 2024
Who Shops at Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters?
Three Taco Chains to Watch in 2024
Starbucks and Dunkin’: 2023 in Four Data Points
Who Visits CVS and Walgreens?
Fashionably Frugal: Apparel in 2023
Catching Up With Fast Food
The Grocery Sector in 2023: An End-of-Year Recap
3 Mall & Shopping Center Trends for 2024
Bakery Chains Rising To The Top and Esri Partner to Deliver Geospatial Analytics
Tampa Tourism Trends
Going For The Green: The Changing Dynamics Of Country Clubs
Christmas Day Dining Recap
Major Urban Shopping Districts – Holiday Season Recap Office Index: December 2023 Recap
Recapping the 2023 Holiday Shopping Season White Paper Recap – December 2023
7 Retail & Dining Segments to Watch in 2024
Diving Into Holiday Season Favorites
Super Saturday and Christmas Eve Eve: A Winning Combination
3 Budget Grocery Chains Finishing 2023 On a High Note
Making It In America: International Chicken Chains Bring The Heat
Domestic Tourism at a Glance: A Q3 2023 Roundup
Five Pizza Chains On The Rise
Jewelry Brands Taking Advantage of the DTC Opportunity
Secondhand News: Kids' Thrift Shops
Recapping 2023’s Dining M&As
MetLife Stadium Kicks Off Football Season Office Index: November 2023 Recap
Small Coffee Chains Brewing Big Success