How Apple Can Kill Malls and Reinvigorate Downtowns

In my business life, I’m a real estate guy (lawyer and own a title company). I also publish a weekly real estate newsletter. I have been positing for the past years that the mall is dead, it’s just that no one has told it yet. Honestly, the only reason most people go to malls in my area now is to visit the Apple Store.

Apple could deliver the “finish him” Mortal Kombat blow with one simple announcement: “As our leases expire, we will be moving Apple Stores out of malls and into downtown shopping districts.” And not just major urban shopping centers (NYC, SF, Chicago, etc.). But “suburban” downtown shopping areas. Walkable shopping areas.

This would entirely change the view of walkability, downtowns, and finally (once and for all) kill the regionals shopping center. Because at most malls, Apple IS the anchor store, regardless of its size and location within the mall. Side benefit: It would also finally kill Macy’s. Why does Macy’s exist, can anyone explain that to me?

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I love this idea. I doubt it’ll happen but I still love the idea.

This idea might have to wait until someone gets a handle on the high level of crime plaguing the downtown areas of many large cities.

I imagine Apple will leave malls and other venues where sales are low or declining, in the natural course. Apple stores are brand ambassadors and jewel boxes showcasing the handsome and attractive design. The audience for that tend to reside in high-density high-disposable-income locations, I assume. If that strategy leads to mall closures, then it does as secondary effect – but in North America malls are dying for lots of reasons other than Apple’s brick-and-mortar strategy.

Apple acts always in its own self-interest in ways that avoid community blowback. I don’t see it making a priority out of pursuing broader economic policies like “kill malls”.

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I’m in the UK.

Over here Bricks and mortar shops have been slowly dieing as online shopping has grown. Not necessarily all types of shops, but definitely anything outside food was already struggling. And then the Pandemic hit which has led to many chains going into administration (High Street or out of town)

Again, outside of food, Apple is one of the few physical shops which were and continue to thrive.

I think that all retailers have to provide an experience which can’t be delivered online to allow their physical shops to be a success.

As for Apple leading the charge anywhere. They’ve invested in spaces, so unless they’re not achieving their goals in those locations, they’re not likely to move.