First 2013 Post - Are Malls Dead?

I could have started my first post of 2013 by looking back at the previous 12 months, but I feel no need to relive the happenings of this past year, considering many of them were something I would prefer not to experience again, even though but a memory.

I could have started my first post of 2013 by making prognostications upon what will befall us over the next 12 months, but I feel no need to unnecessarily extend the feeling of impending doom over the upcoming year. (In case you're wondering, it has more to do with history repeating itself again despite warnings from those in the know that actions being taken to 'fix' the economy will do nothing of the sort and in the end cause more harm. Call it deja vu all over again.)

Instead, I will make my first post about something near and dear to my heart – shopping malls. Or more specifically, the death of shopping malls.

Not that I really have anything against shopping malls, at least not those that have been well designed, well managed, with a broad range of retailers and services, and located in places that make sense. But I do believe that too many malls were built in the wrong places to service the wrong clientele at the wrong time in the wrong manner. You know the ones I mean – malls in the fringes of urban or suburban areas that take forever to get to (only possible if you have a car) with parking that means you still have to trudge a great distance from the lots just to get into the place. They host retailers that you wouldn't normally see any place else, charge far more for their goods than mom and pop retail operations, and in some case, are so sterile and uninviting that no one wants to go there.

We've all seen the failing malls with increasing numbers of vacant storefronts, stores no one has ever heard of carrying merchandise no one has ever seen (or wants), and the signs of genteel decay as the facilities change from preventative to failure maintenance while rent revenues fall. We've also seen the failed malls, totally vacant, with only a few hallway lights still on, and the huge “For Sale Or Lease” signs at the parking lot entrances and plastered on the glass of the doorway entrances to the mall. (We've had a few like that here in New Hampshire. They were either re-purposed or torn down.)

There are few malls I have any desire to patronize (only two in New Hampshire that I can think of), and a few outside of New England that would be interesting to visit (The Mall of America in Minnesota, the West Edmonton Mall in Edmonton, Alberta, and the Eaton Centre in Toronto, Ontario.) These days most of my shopping for anything other than the regular day to day items is either done online or at one of the specialty shops located in small towns here in New Hampshire.

(H/T Maggie's Farm)