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Brightening the Appeal of Indoor Malls

Posted: April 23, 2014, 12:10 p.m.
by Addison Viani.

Just a few years ago, the indoor mall was the place to be on a Saturday afternoon. Whether you had 10 items on your list or none at all, the mall was a common place to hang out. The mall provided a place to shop, dine, go see a movie or simply walk around.

Today, indoor malls continue to provide these activities, but none would be described as new. Indoor mall expansion has seen a significant decline within the past two years. The last indoor mall built was back in 2006.

Although indoor malls are not in popular demand to be built, they continue to be profitable. These malls are making significant upgrades in order to keep the customers coming. Simon Property Group Inc. is doing just that. Its marketing strategies are not only for the betterment of indoor malls, but for a better overall shopping experience.

According to its website, “Simon Property Group, Inc. (NYSE:SPG) is an S&P 100 company and a global leader in the retail real estate industry. The Company currently owns or has an interest in more than 325 retail real estate properties in North America and Asia comprising approximately 243 million square feet.” Les Morris, director of public relations for Simon Property Group, discussed some of these major mall improvements.

Taking great assets and making them better
“Indoor malls in the Atlanta area, such as Lenox and Phipps Plaza, are powerhouses that you cannot replicate,” Morris said. “Simon is pouring incredible amounts of money in these assets. Billions of dollars have been invested in Phipps Plaza to add new amenities such as residential units and apartments.”

Online shopping: an added bonus
According to a recent article in The New Yorker, “Internet sales reached six per cent of total retail spending in the fourth quarter of 2013, nearly doubling their share from 2006.” Smartphones and tablets have allowed easy mobile access to the Internet, giving shoppers the ability to see what the stores have to offer and the deals they can receive.

“Online shopping is simply reverse showrooming. People can look online and then come into the stores to physically see, touch or try on what was seen online,” Morris said.

Community involvement
Indoor malls have the advantage to host activities such as blood drives, seasonal events, cooking shows and sports teams.

“We have made an effort to make sure our malls are viewed as places where the community can come and participate in events,” Morris explained. These events draw in more people and offer more than shopping within the malls.

As indoor malls see changes and major improvements, outlet malls have been doing the same. Outlet malls are another crucial asset for major companies like Simon Property Group.


Outlet malls draw in the crowds
Outlet malls have seen a dramatic increase in shopping traffic, and it is not just because of marked down prices. Outlet malls were once perceived as a warehouse of unorganized piles of cheaply priced items that could not be sold in retail stores.

Today, outlet malls have received more attention for both their lower prices and designer brands. These malls draw in a range of consumers that want to find their favorite name-brand designers at the best prices possible.

Former Michael Kors sales associate Maggee Kulway shared her experience working at the North Georgia Premium Outlets. “At Michael Kors, I noticed shoppers would travel far distances just to come to our store. The deals and savings are what attracts the shoppers as well as the sophisticated atmosphere,” Kulway said.

Although indoor malls are not growing in numbers, current establishments are growing in quality. Simon Property Group is indeed “whitening and brightening” its malls to keep the customers coming back. The idea of building new indoor malls may be dead, but as for some current indoor malls, they are certainly alive and thriving.

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