Just when many shopping malls had finally figured out how to adapt to the era of digital retail, the coronavirus pandemic upended everything.
Having seen their recent move toward dining, entertainment, fitness and personal services come to a screeching halt – a pivot that was supposed to help them survive the Amazon age – malls throughout America are suddenly running out of time.
With J.C. Penney trying to avoid liquidation, smaller retailers closing or requesting rent relief, and venues like theaters still temporarily shut down due to COVID-19, anywhere from 1 in 4 malls to 1 in 2 could go out of business altogether, analysts projected.
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“The whole business model of a mall, which is about pulling in as many people as you can and getting them to stay for as long as you