CREW Cleveland met for breakfast on August 8, 2018 at the Oswald Centre downtown to discuss the state of our malls given the ever growing presence of online shopping. Liz Dunlap, Director of Programs for CREW Cleveland, led the panel discussion with three local experts: Kate Miller of Great Lakes Mall, Heather Taylor of Summit Mall, and Kurt Reddick of SouthPark Mall. All three echoed similar themes. There was a general consensus that although online shopping provides convenience, the majority of shoppers still prefer to shop in stores to touch, feel and experience before they buy.
That said, there was also a recognition from our panelists that shoppers are evolving and have new expectations for their average shopping experience. Malls are transforming themselves to become more closely assimilated to town centers. They recognize they can no longer just offer stores and have begun to integrate restaurants, family activities (bowling, movies, etc.) and community events (Christmas tree lightings, visits with the Easter Bunny, concerts and more). Malls are adapting themselves to be the place where locals want to congregate and spend time.
As for the coming years, we can expect to see a continued evolution of our malls and shopping centers as a strong presence in the consumer market. As shoppers continue to utilize the convenience of online purchases, only time will tell the role each of these options will play, but it seems certain that for the foreseeable future, our malls will continue to be deeply integrated in the retail market.
1100 Superior Avenue East
Cleveland, Ohio 44114