Mallpocalypse: Even Apple Stores can’t save dying shopping malls

“Foot traffic at some of the best shopping centers across the country peaked around August 2018 and has since started to fall, after rebounding for much of last year, according to a new report from data analytics firm Thasos, which uses more than 100 million mobile phones to track when consumers enter and leave certain trade areas,” Lauren Thomas reports for CNBC. “The good news for a lot of malls was that many retailers made a ‘comeback’ and were able to draw in more shoppers by using promotions in 2018, John Collins, Thasos co-founder and chief product officer, said. ‘But if you’re selling merchandise at a loss, you can only do that for so long.'”

“As retailers are now starting to talk about pulling back on discounting, this could be one reason why traffic is dropping at malls, he said, in addition to the fact that some purchases are moving online,” Thomas reports. “U.S. retailers so far have announced they will shut 5,994 stores, while opening 2,641, according to real estate tracking done by Coresight Research. That’s more locations slated to go dark than during last year. In 2018, there were 5,864 closures announced and 3,239 openings, Coresight said… ‘I expect store closures to accelerate in 2019, hitting some 12,000 by year end,’ Deborah Weinswig, founder and CEO of Coresight, said.”

Thasos “found malls with so-called experiential tenants that aren’t just focused on selling products, like Apple, Italian food hall Eataly and Tesla, haven’t been drawing in extra traffic. Up until the final three months of 2018, indoor shopping malls with “experiential” tenants didn’t benefit from greater shopper traffic on a year-over-year basis when compared with indoor malls without any of those unique, nonapparel tenants, Thasos said,” Thomas reports. “With more store closures likely on the horizon, consumers can expect to start seeing hotels, gyms, apartment complexes, more food halls and grocery stores at traditional malls, turning them into more like city centers.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Why deal with the mall “experience” when Amazon will have it on your doorstep tomorrow, likely for less?

As for Apple Stores, especially the mall stores, what used to be a draw have become something to be avoided for years now due to overcrowding of what seems mainly to be people dealing with broken iPhones competing with people straining to hear free courses due to poor/no acoustical design by Apple interior designers, and asinine wooden boxes strewn about for “seating,” to name just three repellents.


  1. Last time I went to the mall, was because that was where my local Apple store was, and just the brief time in there getting to the Apple store, reminded me of why I don’t go to shopping malls. Other then that, I haven’t been in my local malls for anything or even to just browse around in over 20 years. Walmart and smaller shopping strip stores, and those visits are few in number, are the only things that come to mind. As for Amazon, never used for furniture, books, clothes or groceries, etc., just occasional electronics for a project I’ve been working on. RIP shopping malls.

  2. Apple could have helped save mainstream malls more effectively if Apple Stores were more about users and less about cold fashion and architectural statements with custom tables. Apple stores cannot be described as welcoming and comfortable. They are loud and organized worse than your local DMV.

    The last several times I have visited, they were full of people — but not to try out the hardware. In my observation, the 3 top reasons people were there:
    1. waiting for their “Genius” appointments for iOS and iCloud problems
    2. keyboard woes
    3. to buy dongles

    Thankfully, Ahrendts has packed up the last of her gold-filled chests today and is off to redecorate one of her newly acquired mansions.

    We can only hope that a proper head of retail can right the ship … whenever Cookie gets around to appointing a permanent head of retail focused only on retail.

  3. The most salient quote: “…Thasos,…uses more than 100 million mobile phones to track when consumers enter and leave certain trade areas….”

    Thalos is another one of those private spy/tracking agencies. Just think of how much more theaving governmental spy agencies are. Maybe the two segments are just one large spy agency which would define Fascism which should be illegal.

    1. Also, how representative of iPhone users do we think those 100 million phones are?
      In other words, perhaps Thasos has discovered that Android phone users don’t go to Apple Stores that often. Surprise!

  4. “Why deal with the mall “experience” when Amazon will have it on your doorstep tomorrow, likely for less?”

    While I don’t like crowded malls I understand that there are some benefits of fighting the battle. Want a Blazer? Put it on to see how it fits, actually feel the fabric, etc. Even branded clothing will come in different models (shapes) and you want to be sure that you get the right ones. Same with shoes – different models on different lasts (the working form) fit differently.

    Even with simply shirts there is a wide range of fabric quality and I want to feel what I’m getting.

    Another interesting side is that when you have a chance to look around you can see some merchandise on sale, designs you hadn’t thought about, etc. Watch a traditional woman shopper to see them periodically look at an item, or feel the fabric.

    I’ll admit that there are shoplifters working malls, but there are also porch pirates. No one knows the level of theft from those porch pirates, but I’ll use the internet for less expensive items, or especially simple items, like OTC meds, or shaving creams that are significantly cheaper than the shops.

  5. For tech I usually go online to non-taxed (so far) B&H PhotoVideo. Cut back on Amazon when they started charging sales tax. Locally we have a MicroCenter for less expensive items. Anything that I think might have to be returned/exchanged, I buy locally. Trips to FedEx/UPS get annoying. However, haven’t been in a mall in years.

  6. It’s obvious that local malls are struggling as they try and keep tenants, but wind up forcing them out because of ridiculous leasing rates.

    Many people go there just to add steps to their Apple Watches, not shop. Many of them cannot even keep a descent food place in them anymore.. And mall managers wonder why no-one comes anymore… it’s probably not that hard to figure out.

  7. “It’s obvious that local malls are struggling as they try and keep tenants, but wind up forcing them out because of ridiculous leasing rates.”

    Exactly. Back in my home state two major malls opened since the early 1970s closed last year. The good news is one is being divided, torn down partially and rebuilt. The other sits as an empty box high on a hill, sad…

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.