Mall Operators are Getting Desperate

Lets Debate Vernacular, Shall We? 

Retail.AI (Short Vernacular). So, let's not call malls "malls" anymore. Let's call them "community hubs" or "community centers." We don't want to, uh, "'get lost in the vernacular.'" C'mon. This is a fulsome piece about the future of malls, featuring all kinds of fancy comments from mall operators about the future of brick-and-mortar retail. A QIB Global Real Estate professional notes, “Offering more than a simple consumer transaction, we are creating places that encourage people to dwell, drawing in the community and ensuring people will visit again and again. By curating a more integrated, experience-led offer that responds to a broad range of customer needs, we’re supporting an uplift in sales across all categories including fashion and apparel.” Anyone still awake? Can someone check to see if the Guinness Book of World Records' record for buzzword usage was broken? And, like that, poof! People go to malls again. Woohoo! A few things seem apparent to us from this piece: (i) the Westfield at the World Trade Center, as we've previously reported, is underperforming; (ii) the same-store-sales measurement is out-dated if mall operators envision nothing but food, gardens, and sale returns (until Amazon institutes a Shyp-like service where, so long as you are Prime member, you can have couriers pick up and package shipments for you); and (iii) everyone is losing faith in department stores. Of course, it's a bit easier to be optimistic as a REIT operator if/when you're able to leverage public financing to aid your modernization efforts. Serious question: how is that not a bailout of sorts?