Malls across America are facing challenges as a result of the closing of many big box stores (Sears, Kmart) who are on life support. Additionally, the decrease in retail footprints (smaller stores, Best Buy, Wal-Mart) are having major impacts on mall owners. Malls can't rent larger spaces. Meanwhile, malls still have to pay mortgages and operational expenses for their properties while having less tenants, affecting margins.
A shift is starting to happen, albeit very slowly. Traditional online retailers, e-commerce businesses and some specialty online businesses are opening small retail locations to provide a location for their current customers to see, touch and smell products. They then try to move customers to order at the store or go back to their e-commerce site and order online. They don’t keep any major inventory on site.
These businesses that started online and have built massive amounts of customers are also seeking to diversify and provide a different type of customer experience to their clients.
These stores tend to be smaller, less than 5,000 square feet vs. 20-30,000 square feet for a Sears. Mall owners are adapting lease terms to be shorter in duration 1-2 years to allow these online businesses to test the model. Mall owners are acquiescing to the demands of these companies given they have so much empty space. Typical mall leases are 5 years or more. Rates have also dropped.
The goal here is for e-commerce business to provide a showroom for their current products and new products so current customers can see them. The also do promotional events around a new product launch and have a location to drive people too.
See more here: Malls are looking for smaller rental clients
There are opportunities for your business to work with these businesses if you're in marketing and advertising, promotional events, promotional products, POS systems, site rehab, remodeling.