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Placebook: Malls are Dying, as Commerce Centers

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Malls are dying. Yes, there are stores that drive traffic, but I can’t tell anyone the last time I’ve been to an enclosed mall or even to mall stores at an open-air center. Well, I lie, I went to Barnes and Noble the other week. I have a gift card to spend there, but I was more interested in absorbing the atmosphere than purchasing anything particular that day. I’ve definitely not eaten at a food court in years, so the bankruptcy of Sbarro was not a shocker to me. And yes, I’m in the 18-34 demographic that has a little extra money to spend.

Much is said about demographics of shoppers by chain owners and other shoppers who don’t like a particular demographic that happens to be taking in the atmosphere versus buying things. Or so they think. Anecdotally, I’ve found that poorer people, women and teens, especially of color, are more likely to buy mall things, even at the upscale places. Most of the people I know with extra income have stuff shipped to them online, call the grocery and have them shop for them (or shop in person with a tight list), or spend money on experiences over things.

Therefore, malls of any type (including the lifestyle center reboot), should continue to tout the experience. I’m kinda disappointed that JC Penney never finished the reboot described here, where they wanted to mimic a main street in their store and have events that didn’t require you to shop. They would still make money, because they would still be a showcase and occasionally there are still things to buy. I would go to the mall more often if it was an oversized showroom, with kiosks for shipping directly to my home and opportunities to do things versus buy things. And we’ve done this showroom/catalog thing before. Hello Sears Wish Book. Anyway, your weekend may include mall shopping. Mine will include the news below:

Asheville and Buncombe County are reviewing the I-26 improvement plan.

Charlotte’s new apartments on the Dillworth end with connect Dillworth with Uptown in a more urban manner.

US Airways will add more US flights out of Charlotte-Douglas.

Fayetteville’s police chief is under internal investigation.

A Wells Fargo Economist claims that technology is booming, but RTP is not where it’s booming from.

If you have an AT&T phone, the Durham 911 Center will accept your emergency texts.

Mixed feedback from citizens to the Durham City Council on their proposed new police headquarters.

The DENR is now rejecting the plan for the coal ash cleanup it worked so closely with Duke Energy to create.

Work will begin on a new park near Winston-Salem’s Innovation Quarter.

The new banners at the Greensboro Coliseum are made out of recycled plastic bottles.

Why Trader Joe’s passed over Greensboro’s Wendover Ave shopping district.

The Greensboro Convention and Visitors Bureau is set to move into the old Canada Dry building at the Coliseum on May 1.

The Greensboro City Council will vote to officially and financially support the new downtown park

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