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Reimagining Main Street to keep shopping centers alive

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Rick Caruso is head of one of the largest privately held real estate companies in the United States and one of the top mall developers in the country. But he doesn’t have much faith in the future of the shopping mall.

“In 10-15 years the typical U.S. mall, unless reinvented, will be an historical anachronism, a 60-year or so aberration that no longer meets the public’s needs, the retailer’s needs or the community’s needs,” he said during Sunday’s keynote address at Retail’s BIG Show.

That’s the bold statement, but recent history suggests Caruso’s prediction could be right: There hasn’t been a new indoor mall built since 1996, making the mall concept a relic in retail development.

Retail certainly isn’t going anywhere. The “souk,” or traditional Berber market, in Marrakesh, Morocco, might be considered an early example of a mall that has been selling goods for more than 1,000 years. And marketplaces have kept evolving. But the reality is that the U.S. mall concept is only 60 years old. So how can retailers help revive and reimagine the mall formats Caruso says are so doomed?

Caruso was joined on a keynote panel by three trendsetting retailers ready to answer that question. Watch Nordstrom President Blake Nordstrom, Sprinkles Cupcakes founder Candace Nelson and fashion designer Rebecca Minkoff share how their organizations are creatively upending the traditional shopping center experience.

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