US shopping malls are emptying out
The Wall Street Journal reports that shopping malls in the US are the emptiest they have been in six years, with a vacancy rate of 8.6% in the second quarter. According to research from Reis Inc, the high vacancy rate is due to more consumers shifting to online shopping. Retailers such as Bon Ton, Sears, J.C. Penney and Toys “R” Us have all announced store closures this year. But, the main reason is not that Americans have abandoned brick-and-mortar for online merchants. The US simply has far too much retail space per capita - one of the highest globally. Stores still play a major role, with many pureplay retailers now recognising that having a brick-and-mortar presence reinforces their online efforts, including Amazon.com.