Monday, January 09, 2012

Mall Vacancy Rate Dropps a Bit

Of course, it's still very high. I wonder, though, if this is something that, after a bit of recovery (if the economy undertakes a real recovery) is going to get worse going forward.

Lots of retail is shifting to online. There are still things that people really prefer to go to a store to purchase: groceries and clothing come to mind. And there are service oriented retail spaces that will continue to be in demand, like restaurants and dry cleaners. For a lot of stores however, online just makes more sense. Electronics, cooking utensils, toys, tools and more are all easier to find and almost always cheaper online.

There is a very neat game store walking distance from me, they are likely to get only a very small fraction of my not very large amount of business. Even in the older/second-hand game market where a place like that used to be able to thrive, Ebay and 3rd party Amazon vendors are crowding out.

Even the box stores are going to have difficulties. There will always be a place for a Wal Mart or Target (though probably fewer than we have), but I don't see how a Best Buy can survive long term. They would probably have a better future in smaller retail spaces, where they would have a few things on hand along with a computer connected to their online inventory. Basically serve as a Radio Shack plus a location for large items to be picked up for the many people who can't have a 46" tv mailed to their house.

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