Have you noticed a decline in the traditional shopping mall? It seems these malls are giving way to outdoor centers, superstores, and of course, online retail outlets. Sure, the National Retail Federation projects a 4.1 percent increase in retail sales this year, but it forecasts as much as a 12 percent spike in online sales.
It isn't as if people aren't spending money. The International Council of Shopping Centers reported that in the fourth quarter of last year, U.S. shopping center income rose 5.6 percent from the same quarter the year prior. However, the council also noted that JCPenney and Macy's, two chains that traditionally anchored indoor malls, would close 33 and 5 stores, respectively, this year.
The shift in shopping trends has left buildings that were once bustling with storefronts and food courts desolate. The pictures of these vacated malls are interesting and perhaps a bit creepy as well .
Take the White Flint Mall in North Bethesda, Maryland, for example. It opened in 1977, and the Washington Post reports that at one time it was the place to shop in the area. But by 2012 the owners announced it would be converted to an outdoor shopping center. Lord and Taylor outlived Bloomingdale's. The store is now suing to stop Lerner Enterprises and the Tower Cos. from joining the development.
Perhaps spurred on by some of the pictures the Post took of the empty mall, the blog Duck Pie took a drive to North Bethesda and had a look. There, the blog photographed what could once be considered the social hub of a mall — the food court — describing it as "American Pompeii." You can see where people once sat, where a Sbarro sign once hung, and where Mrs. Field once served up her delicious-smelling cookies.
Check out the sights and perhaps visit your local Auntie Anne's or Cinnabon one more time. You never know when they, too, will be pushed off to the side for a frozen yogurt shop.