Thanks for Visiting!

Register for free to get the full story.

Sign Up
Already have a Placer.ai account? Log In

The Mall Effect

by 
Jocelyn Bauer
 on 
March 24, 2020
The Mall Effect

A Tough Outlook for Shopping Malls 

It’s obvious that the coronavirus is having an impact on the overall retail economy. While we’ve seen some sectors, such as grocery and QSR combating concerns with strong performance, others are currently taking big hits as the virus continues to spread. 

With an inevitable shutdown looming, what has the coronavirus spread already meant for shopping malls?  We analyzed 11 of the top malls around the country to see just how much they’ve been affected by the virus thus far. 

Trending in the Wrong Direction 

When analyzing each mall from January 2019 to March 8th, 2020, we come across a pretty difficult situation. With the exception of the Natick Mall in Massachusetts, every location showed massive year-over-year declines during the second week of March. Although some malls, such as Westfield Garden St. Plaza in NJ and King of Prussia Mall in PA, displayed year-over-year weekly growth for the last week of February, the situation changed quickly when we moved into March, where both locations showed decreases of 17.1% and 7.5% respectively. 

The Westfield San Francisco Center displayed the most significant year-over-year drop, with a 34.2% decline when looking at the first week of March, year-over-year. San Francisco has been at the forefront of virus concerns. Its airport has been hugely affected and it was one of the first areas to feel a heavy impact. And, we see similar results when looking at another largely affected area, Seattle. Year-over-year visits during the first week of March for Westfield Southcenter Seattle declined 23.8% year over year alongside impacts in other sectors, even those performing well elsewhere in the country.

Location does clearly matter in this case, yet the impact is going far beyond just areas that are hard hit. While we see larger traffic drops in highly populated areas and cities that have been more directly impacted such as San Francisco, Seattle and New York, there’s no denying the massive effect it's having on the entire county. 

An Undeniable Impact 

There was a glimmer of hope with some malls showing resilience during that last week of February into March, but there is an undeniable and overwhelming decline for each mall analyzed when looking at the second week of March. Even Natick Mall, which showed year-over-year growth for the end of February and early March, recorded a significant 21.2% decline in visits. 

The Westfield San Francisco Center continued to struggle into the second week of March, with a 46.5% year-over-year weekly decrease, the largest of the malls analyzed.  The Mall at Short Hills in New Jersey wasn’t far behind with a nearly 40.0% decrease and Galleria Mall in Dallas rounded out the (unfortunate) top three with a 36.6% decline. 

The impact here is obvious, but with many of these same malls announcing closures shortly after the dates analyzed, it is unlikely that there will be any short term reversal of fortune.

Takeaways

Some sectors such as wholesale and QSR are seemingly doing okay amid the virus scare, but others are struggling, with shopping malls taking a very significant hit. With multiple cities beginning to close all non-essential stores, a severe traffic decline is imminent. And, with full lockdowns looming, shopping malls should prepare for a full traffic stop. The challenge here is that malls are such a significant part of the wider retail ecosystem signaling a heavier impact across mall dependent players like apparel, beauty, home goods and more.

Yet, just as important as their closure, will be their eventual reopening and how quickly they can return customers to these critical locations.

Want to stay on top of the situation? Visit Placer.ai

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 Placer.ai Free
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Placer.ai Office Index: January 2023 Recap
Focusing On Fitness: Q4 and January Recap
Placer.ai Mall Index: January 2023 – Returning Mall Normalcy?
Location Intelligence Insights Into Concert Attendance
Winning Dining Strategies for 2023
In-N-Out Burger: What to Expect as the Brand Moves East
Location Intelligence Breakdown: Coffee Caps-Off 2022
Digitally Native Brands Lean Into Brick & Mortar
Washington, D.C. Population Changes & Migration Trends
A Location Intelligence Perspective on Macy’s Rightsizing
Amazon-Powered Shopping: The Future of Brick-and-Mortar Grocery?
Cold Weather, Hot Visits: Diving into Winter Resorts
Wawa and 7-Eleven: Leaning Into the “Slurpee Effect”
2022 and Beyond: Catching Up With McDonald’s & Chipotle
Let’s Have Some Fun! Going Out Is In
Placer.ai’s Q4 2022 Quarterly Index
Placer.ai Adds Industry Executives to Leadership Team To Drive Company's Next Phase of Growth
5 Emerging Retail Formats: 2023’s Brick-and-Mortar Evolution
Grocery Update: Zooming in on the Lone Star State
2022 Office Recap: The Year of the TGIF Work Week
What Lies Ahead for Brick-and-Mortar Luxury in 2023
Placer.ai Mall Indexes: December 2022 Recap
Looking Back on 2022’s Holiday Shopping Season
Post-Pandemic Migration Trends in New York
Top Retailers for 2023
The Live Sports Advertising Opportunity
Domestic Migration to the Mountain States: Small Shifts with Big Implications
New Year, New Food: 5 Dining Trends For 2023
Announcing Placer.ai’s COVID RECOVERY DASHBOARD
This is Why Shop-in-Shops Are Everywhere
Super Saturday 2022 Recap
The San Francisco Shift
Grocery Year-End Update: Publix in the Spotlight
Three Ways Retailers Can Think Small to Increase Store Impact
Offline Beauty Is on an Upswing
The Evolving Migration Patterns of New York’s Florida Snowbirds
Placer.ai Office Index: November 2022 Recap
How Viral Social Media Trends Can Drive Offline Engagement
Are You Ready for Some Football? Experiential Marketing Shows Promise
Mall and Shopping Center Trends For 2023
Retail Corridors and Indoor Malls: A Holiday Head-to-Head
Placer Bytes: Nike, lululemon, and GameStop Update
Placer.ai Mall Indexes: November 2022 Update
Black Friday 2022: Consumers Hear the Call
Digitally Native Brands: Taking Off, Offline
Discount and Dollar Stores Leading the Pack
Turkey Wednesday 2022
Retail’s Evolving Holiday Season
Placer Bytes: Starbucks and Department Stores Ahead of Black Friday
Ulta: A Force to be Reckoned With
College Towns Drive Dining Growth
Foot Traffic Trends Reveal Consumers Ready for Holiday Cheer
How Retailers Can Win Big By Going Small
How Are Consumers Feeling Ahead of Black Friday 2022?
Off-Price, Hibbett, and Dick’s Pre-Holiday Check-in
Ho, Ho, Wholesale: Costco, Sam’s Club, and BJ’s
October 2022’s Retail Rebound
Target and Walmart Ahead of the Holidays
Home Improvement: Leave it to the Pros
Despite Inflation, Holiday Season is Off to a Good Start
Placer.ai Office Index: October 2022 Recap
Placer.ai Mall Indexes- October 2022 Update
Americans Double Down on Fitness
The State of Grocery
CVS and Walgreens: The Wave Continues
Coffee Chains Brewing Up Visits
Placer.ai Spotlight: Pizza Players
What Drove COVID-Era Urban Migration Trends?
Kroger and Albertsons: A Merging of Strengths
Texas Roadhouse Innovations Dishing Up Success
Holidays on the Horizon: Mid-Range and Luxury Shopping
McDonald's and Chipotle's Post-Pandemic Success
Announcing Placer.ai’s Q3 2022 Quarterly Index
5 Hot Restaurant Brands for 2023
Target Finds a Winning Deals Day Formula
Five Trends to Watch for 2022’s Holiday Shopping Season
September 2022 Analysis: A Difficult Month and Time for Optimism
Inflation’s Retail Winners
Five Apparel Retailers to Watch Ahead of the Holidays
Placer.ai Spotlight: Wawa’s QSR Pivot
Placer.ai Mall Indexes: September 2022 Recap
Placer.ai Office Indexes: September 2022 Recap
The Impact of Population Growth on Commercial Real Estate 
Starbucks' New Makeover
There's Somethin' About Pumpkin
Expanding Offline Reach
Breakfast Restaurants are Rising in Popularity
The Power of Labor Day 2022
Tourism in Miami Heating Up
Citi Trends on the Rise
Reaching Rural Consumers Through Retail Media Network
Darden Restaurants Cooking Up Success
The Home Improvement Sector: A Sign of Consumer Confidence
QSR Is Having a Northeastern Growth Spurt
Domestic Migration’s Ripple Effects
A Look Back at Back To School 2022
Kroger Digital Tell-All
The Return of In-Person Networking
The Reinvention of the American Mall  
Placer.ai Office Building Indexes: August 2022 Recap