Retail Evolves to Fill Vacancies

VacancyCorresponded with the rise of suburban living after World War II, the shopping mall became a highly favorable modern indoor version of a traditional marketplace. Over the years these malls have been historically filled by big brand name retailers, until recently as many of them battle with the harsh reality of less foot traffic, expensive leases and possible bankruptcy. In turn, property and leasing managers have been given the challenge to fill vacant shops.

Retail Sectors Evolve to Fill Vacancies and Boost Sales

One of the latest trends increasing in prominence, as reported by, is the temporary flea market, also known as a Pop-Up Flea. The Pop-Up method is appealing to property owners because it puts unoccupied space to good use and attracts traffic between renters, while giving vendors an opportunity to sell their wares in a new and exciting setting.

However, most property management is looking for more than a temporary fix, forcing them to renegotiate leases (whether it be in cost or term) and entertain the thought of some unconventional tenants. As Greg Maloney, president and CEO of Jones Lang LaSalle Retail, explains to USA Today, “We’re taking a look at anything to generate traffic,” which includes those mom and pops and indie stores more commonly found on Main Street USA. While such tenants may seem out of character, they are undoubtedly welcomed as vacancy becomes a matter of mall survival.

To adapt to a fragile economy and fickle shopping habits, sectors within the retail industry have found a way to work together. It isn’t just flea market vendors occupying indoor retail space, or independent retailers moving from their brick and mortars downtown to high traffic malls that are redefining retail. Joining in on the retail evolution are outlet centers. While the recession made bargain prices for name brands an opportunity for growth in this retail sector, the outlets’ popularity creates hope for other retail avenues.

For instance, International Outlet Journal reports, “Outlet tenancy has been planned for years at Pyramid Company’s thriving mall (Carousel Center/Destiny USA) in Syracuse, NY. The 850,000 square foot expansion of the 2.4 million square foot center will be tenanted by both traditional outlets and luxury chains.” Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst at NPD, says it best, “There’s no question that what we’re witnessing is the transformation of how and where consumers are shopping,” as he comments on the growth of outlets and consumers demand for value. But for projects like Destiny USA, it is more than a variety of products and the addition of good-value pricing that draws consumers. With an anticipated 29 million shoppers, retail has obviously begun to promise a certain level of entertainment. “The Pyramid crew expects Destiny USA to become an itinerary add-on for U.S. and Canadian visitors heading to New York’s Finger Lakes and Adirondacks regions, and for overseas travelers to New York City,” notes the International Outlet Journal.