Online retailers are relentlessly gaining share in many retail categories, and offline players are fighting for progressively smaller pieces of the retail pie. A number of physical retailers have already succumbed to online competition including Circuit City, Borders, CompUSA, Tower Records and Blockbuster, and many others are showing signs of serious economic distress. These mall and shopping center stalwarts are closing stores by the thousands, and there are few large physical chains opening stores to take their place. Yet the quantity of commercial real estate targeting retail continues to grow, albeit slowly. Rapidly declining demand for real estate amid growing supply is a recipe for financial disaster.
This declining retailer health is directly impacting malls and shopping centers in the form of very high vacancy rates and sluggish rents—exactly what you’d expect to see where supply exceeds demand. Both factors deteriorated quickly during the economic crisis of 2008-09, but they’ve shown virtually no improvement since in spite of improved economic conditions. The recession was the catalyst, but competition from online retailers can only be the continued driver....
A report from Co-Star observes that there are more than 200 malls with over 250,000 square feet that have vacancy rates of 35 percent or higher, a "clear marker for shopping center distress." These malls are becoming ghost towns. They are not viable now and will only get less so as online continues to steal retail sales from brick-and-mortar stores. Continued bankruptcies among historic mall anchors will increase the pressure on these marginal malls, as will store closures from retailers working to optimize their business. Hundreds of malls will soon need to be repurposed or demolished.
En av de mer intressanta konsekvenserna av den teknologiska arbetslösheten är de många butiks- och kontorslokaler som töms på verksamhet. Kanske kan bostadsbristen lösas genom att omvandla dem till bostäder? Kanske kan shoppinggalleriorna bli kulturcenter där kulturarbetare kan leva och verka till en låg avgift? En slags berlinifiering av västvärlden? Inte mig emot.