The Death Of The Mall

Steven Pearlstein has a very nice column about DC-area real estate trends that, among other things, notes the waning fortunes of traditional shopping mall operators: “The news that Bloomingdale’s will close its store at White Flint says less about the future of the department store or Rockville Pike than it does about enclosed malls. Shoppers no longer prefer them, retailers are abandoning them and developers are scrambling to tear them down or — as is the case of White Flint — turn them into suburban town centers. Even in a rejuvenated Georgetown, the once-elegant Georgetown Park mall sits mostly empty.”

That all seems true to me, but as I note in a new column another factor is simply the long-awaited structural decline of brick-and-mortar retail in the face of competition from the convenience and sales tax avoidance of e-commerce.