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Posted: 2020-10-27 9:31:08

Victor Gruen designed shopping centers but he designed full utopian communities around them. And people were like, "we’re just cool with the shopping centers.” The ideas he had never got brought into fruition. — @kanyewest The ballad of Victor Gruen: https://t.co/qM0EUAOJcn https://t.co/gJXa1ouByn

From Web Smith (@web) at #(from:web) Tweets with Links
Originally published 2020 10 24
Attracting Silicon Valley to New Albany was a bet that is symbolic of a greater trend. Those Silicon Valley giants are as much a part of the commerce ecosystem as the drywall, steel beams, and concrete of the malls that span our country’s vast suburbs. But it isn’t the only culprit of today’s retail woes. In short, there isn’t enough demand (shoppers) to meet excess supply (stores). Retail real estate is permanently contracting. A recent headline from CNBC stated that “apparel retail earnings haven’t been this bad since the Great Recession. [1]” A capstone of all real estate developments, earnings are trading at recession levels despite a categorically booming economy.
Today, multiple malls and shopping centers exist for every small suburb in America, designed and constructed with no expectation to achieve sustainable demand. Meanwhile, America is accelerating into urbanization with our growing GDP as the wind at its back. Direct-to-consumer brands are developing, eCommerce has grown to nearly 18% of all retail sales, and urban town centers are popping up – each taking cues from Gruen’s original vision. In a recent conversation with CNBC’s Lauren Thomas, Retail Metrics founder Ken Perkins said: These are all mall-based retailers experiencing traffic issues. According to Thomas, apparel mall retail profits are at recession levels. As of June, Macerich, Simon Properties, Kimco, Washington Prime Group, and Taubman properties are trading at five-year lows. This is inline with the numerous data points mentioned above. There aren’t enough viable challenger brands (DTC) to fill the 67,000+ store closures projected by 2026. So, it’s difficult to determine whether or not an American retail empire built on post-war consumerism, suburbanization, and accelerated depreciation will return to its former glory. But when we wonder how the “retail apocalypse” happened, look to 1954.
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