The rise and fall of Malls

Even as the mall culture rages on, in India, in the United States, malls are on their way out. According to the International Council of Shopping Centers, Indoor Shopping, malls are so out of favour in the US that not one will be built before 2009 at the earliest.

The reasons stated for the demise of malls are twofold. One, having proliferated too quickly in the 1990's they cannibalised each other. The spawning of discount stores, factory-outlet stores and speciality stores compounded the problem. This in turn resulted in middle aged shoppers shunning malls.

A second reason is that, once suburban malls were seen by whites as a the last bastion that withstood racial diversity, which again after a while vanished. Today the US is seeing a drift in the 'opposite' direction; ie., suburbs are being populated by the racially mixed, whereas cities fill up with hip, affluent whites.

Though the second scenario listed may not be witnessed in India, the threat of cannibalisation and competition form stand alone stores is very real. Malls may rise for the moment; the fall, is not far away.

Ref : 'Birth, death and shopping', The Economist


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