When I first got my driver's license back in the Stone Age in Terrell, Texas, there was one place I couldn't wait to drive to--Towne East Mall in Mesquite.  They had the biggest Tower Records store around and I couldn't wait to get there and spend however long I wanted thumbing through the stacks of records.  I didn't have an appointed time that I had to meet my mom to get a ride home, cuz I had my own wheels.

Of course, that would never happen now because there aren't any more record stores.  And if Credit Suisse's new study is correct, there won't be many malls left in the not-so-distant future.  Once fixtures of the suburban landscape, Credit Suisse predicts that 1 in 4 malls in America will close in the next 5 years.

Ever since the advent of on-line shopping, prognosticators have been saying that brick-and-mortar stores are doomed.  Those of us who grew up roaming the concourses of the local mall for shopping or hanging with friends thought, "Naw, that'll never happen."  Seems the soothsayers were onto something.  According to a June 2016 survey by analytics firm comScore and UPS, for the first time ever consumers are now purchasing more items on-line than in retail stores.  Check out this staggering statistic:  in the past 12 months Amazon posted $82.7 billion in sales, while Wal-Mart, America's biggest retailer, posted $12.5 billion.

In a new report from the Louisiana Radio Network, LSU Marketing Professor Dr. Dan Rice said that malls have long relied on big box stores like Sears and J.C. Penney to draw customers.  As these stalwarts continue to struggle, so do the small stores that depend upon the traffic the anchor stores generate.

The Credit Suisse report estimates over 8,600 retail outlets will shutter in 2017.  But Rice says that retailers can attract shoppers to their brick-and-mortar stores.  “If a company is really good at what they do and offers a compelling reason to bring you into a physical store, then they can be successful with both.”


More From Highway 98.9