Signs Of Economic Decline
We went to the Laguna Hills Mall earlier this evening, as I had heard of a $ used books store. Definitely a mall trying to manage decline. The bookstore was one example: plenty of empty space – looked more like a dilapidated public library – not a mall. A good number of empty store fronts and no-name store. Some empty store fronts were disguised: one was a former teen clothing retailer location turned into a candy store, and now just a display for three new Sears home appliances, with curtains hung behind them to hide the fact that it used to be a storefront. Empty or barely stocked kiosks. And of course the entire food court was closed last year. There was traffic, but
Other mall seeing decline: The Block at Orange, now known as The Outlets at Orange. The Westminster Mall.
Of course Fashion Island in Newport, South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, and The Spectrum in Irvine continue to do well.
Made me think of ecological succession, of withdrawal from the periphery and consolidation to the cor, and of dwindling resources (like money) driving changes in demand, and therefore what is offered up to supply.
As time passes, more and more people are just going to buy what they need at a flea market or farmer's market, where the space rent is cheap. Why pay $2,000 to $4,000 per month to lease a store in a mall, right? And why buy from a place that has such high overhead that they need to add to the cost of what you buy, right?
When I was a kid growing up in a Third World Country, I would go to an open market and buy candy by the piece. A little kid would buy a bag of candy, then sell each for about a nickel or 3 for a dime. I could also buy home-made fried doughnuts right on the street for a twenty cents.