Study: ‘Experiential tenants’ like Apple can’t help save big U.S. malls

A report by data analytics firm Thasos finds foot traffic dropping off at malls across the country in recent months. The study also found that 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.

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The research group says that, overall, the foot traffic growth that U.S. malls experienced starting in late 2017 has peaked and begun to reverse course in recent months. Grocery-anchored open-air malls (GAOAs) continue to outperform all other mall categories, but the margin of this outperformance narrowed significantly in 2018.

Thasos says that, beginning in January 2018, small strip centers without major anchor tenants began to outperform open-air malls anchored by big-box retailers, reversing a 2017 trend. The report adds that foot traffic to U.S. outlet malls, which are typically outdoor retail destinations, showed a significant growth decline beginning in July 2018.