Friday, March 5, 2021

CNBC explains why U.S. malls are disappearing, plus Forever 21 and Brooks Brothers saved for now, tales of the Retail Apocalypse and pandemic

Last Black Friday/Buy Nothing Day, I shared a CNBC Television video reporting that one-third of malls present in 2012 were already gone in 2020 with 25% more to close in the next 3-5 years. Yesterday, CNBC's main channel expanded on that statistic in a video explaining Why U.S. Malls Are Disappearing.

Shopping malls in the U.S. were already in decline before the Covid-19 pandemic as consumers shifted away from traditional brick-and-mortar stores to e-commerce. The outbreak has only exacerbated the challenges at malls as social distancing has placed restrictions on stores, movie theaters and restaurants. So what will become of malls in America after the pandemic ends?

Shopping malls across the U.S. have been reeling as restaurant and retail tenants struggle to keep their doors open.

Data compiled by Coresight Research shows about a quarter of U.S. malls could close over the next three to five years, accelerating a trend that began before the pandemic.
Malls are a big tax driver for the communities they serve and employ lots of people locally. Watch the video above to find out more about the struggles U.S. malls face and what could become of them after the pandemic ends.
Before examining the decline of malls more closely, CNBC reviewed the history of malls, including the role of architect Victor Gruen in designing the long-closed Northland Mall in Southfield, Michigan, and the Southdale Shopping Center in Edina, Minnesota, and how they fit in the history of suburbia, a topic I covered in Wired on dead malls, a tale of the Retail Apocalypse two years ago. It then followed up on two stories I left hanging, the bankruptcies of Forever 21 and Brooks Brothers. Mall owners like Simon Properties and Brookfield Properties bought parts of both of them, rescuing both chains from bankruptcy, just as they did for JCPenney. Korea Now has the first story in Korean fast-fashion brand Forever 21 finds new owner in 4 months after filing for bankruptcy.

Korea’s fast-fashion emporium, Forever 21 has found a new owner in just four months after it filed for bankruptcy. The retail brand is to sell most of its business for $81 million to a consortium made up of mall operators Simon Property Group, Brookfield Property Partners and brand management firm Authentic Brands Group. Watch this video, for more information.
That's good news for Forever 21 and its new owners, the mall operators, even as it's bad news for the environment and factory workers.

The Wall Street Journal, whose The Rise and Fall of Brooks Brothers concluded with Simon Properties and Authentic Brands buying Brooks Brothers, has the second story.

Brooks Brothers -- the self-proclaimed oldest clothier in the U.S. -- filed for bankruptcy in July. Analysts say the suit dealer wasn’t able to keep up with modern men who often wanted styles that were cheaper and more functional.
That was fast. However, I shouldn't be surprised. As I first observed about Twinkies, some products and brands are too valuable to let go extinct and someone will save them. Looks like JCPenney, Forever 21, and Brooks Brothers are among them.

Returning to the CNBC video, it will be worth watching which solutions mall owners and the communities around the mall pursue once the pandemic ends. Stay tuned.

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