The New Yorker reports that the Internet has claimed another victim: shopping malls. According to the CEO of "one of the largest privately held American real-estate companies," he forecasts that "within ten to fifteen years, the typical U.S. mall, unless it is completely reinvented, will be a historical anachronisma sixty-year aberration that no longer meets the publics needs, the retailers needs, or the communitys needs."
Part of whats hurting the mall, obviously, is that, increasingly, people are shopping online. Internet sales reached six per cent of total retail spending in the fourth quarter of 2013, nearly doubling their share from 2006. Some retailers, understandably, are responding by focussing more on the online end of the retail business. Gap, which became synonymous with the American mall, is no longer counting on malls for growth. Culturally, the business pivoted towards digital, Glenn Murphy, the C.E.O., said, describing the past year. Mall traffic, for a number of years, has been slowing down. Whether it continues to decline somewhat over time, I think thats realistic to assume. Gap customers now can order clothes online and pick them up in a store. When it opens new stores this year, Gap will focus on Asia; earlier this month, the company launched its Old Navy brand in China.
Its not hard to imagine the future that Caruso described, in which malls are obsolete: the case for Amazon is pretty strong when the alternative is to crawl through gridlock to a mall, unwittingly park in the space farthest from the store you plan to visit, cringe as toddlers shrieks reverberate off the tile floors, and dodge salesmen hawking knockoff perfumes and hundred-dollar curling irons. But Caruso offers an interesting alternative scenario: what if malls reinvented themselves? As any cubicle dweller knows, people like natural light and fresh air and, when deprived of them, feel oppressed. So are people alienated by those older malls, with their raw concrete, brutalist architecture and fretful, defensive air? Developers have a shorthand for this style: the classic graybox. In his talk, Caruso flashed grim photos of their fa?ades. He lingered on a picture of a deserted food court; you could practically smell the stale grease. Does this look like the future to you? he asked. On Monday, Sbarro, which represents one of the four food groups of mall cuisine, along with Jamba Juice, Panda Express, and Cinnabon, filed for bankruptcy protection for the second time in three years. Court papers cited an unprecedented decline in mall traffic, meaning fewer hungry shoppers settling for foldable pizza slices.
|Welcome to Life: the singularity, ruined by lawyers|
|"In many cities, the era of the suburban commuter, along with the era of the car, is drawing to a close."|
|In the Future of 'Her,' Technology Has Progressed to the Point That it Doesn't Need to Look Like Technology|
|Electric Cars With Digital Rights Management (DRM) Built into the Batteries|
|Army's Logistics to be Handled by Driverless Robotic Trucks|
|“Like a gigantic version of something you’d find in Toys 'R' Us.”|
|“If that fly on the wall is actually a fly.”|
|“You trust Google more than any priest, scholar, rabbi, coach, mentor, boss.”|
|iotacons: Pixelated Art by Andy Rash|
|Ubuntu 17.10 Artful "What the Fuck" Aardvark|
|“China’s unmanned stores allow people to live their lives with almost zero human contact.”|
|How to Avoid Jury Duty|
|Japanese Robot Serves Ice Cream From Inside a Vending Machine|
|The (Very Scary) People of Public Transit|
|“He says he tries to use Facebook as little as possible, and that his children aren’t allowed to use that shit.”|
|“These days, the children don’t play at break time anymore.”|
|“Millions of Americans are hassled to pay back money they don’t owe.”|