Sorry Westfield but technology is not a cure-all for problems at the mall

“The talk of the death of the mall, and many bankruptcies of retailers … it’s basically because [mall owners] are not servicing their customers properly in a way that they like,” Lowy said.

That’s mall operator Westfield co-CEO Steven Lowy sharing his view at the recent ShopTalk conference and while it is possible a factor that is weighing on brick & mortar retailers and the mall operators behind them, it’s not the only one. What I find interesting is how Lowy points the lack of service finger at mall owners, and not their retail tenants at a time when Amazon (AMZN), Walmart (WMT) and others are bringing new services above and beyond home delivery to their customers.

Given several confirming factors for our Cash-strapped Consumer investing theme, including rising consumer debt levels and tepid wage growth, we continue to see brick & mortar in a bind as shoppers leverage our Connected Society to price compare and have a growing number of goods delivered to their door often with free returns, we agree that mall operators need to pivot toward activities, such as dining and entertainment, to their locations. How “technology” fits into this equation, especially at a time when privacy and safety concerns are once again being raised, remains to be seen. On its own, technology is not a cure-all, but if it can solve a shopper pain point… but Amazon’s way ahead of mall operators with that one in my opinion.

Maybe mall operators should embrace Amazon Lockers to drive mall traffic?


Technology and real estate must blend together better today in order to support an evolving retail market.

Landlords are looking for solutions to lure shoppers back to their properties. More alliances with tech are being proposed as one solution at ShopTalk this year. According to Lowy, “retailers need technology within the store.”


Source: Technology and real estate must blend together, mega mall owner says

About the Author

Chris Versace, Chief Investment Officer
I'm the Chief Investment Officer of Tematica Research and editor of Tematica Investing newsletter. All of that capitalizes on my near 20 years in the investment industry, nearly all of it breaking down industries and recommending stocks. In that time, I've been ranked an All Star Analyst by Zacks Investment Research and my efforts in analyzing industries, companies and equities have been recognized by both Institutional Investor and Thomson Reuters’ StarMine Monitor. In my travels, I've covered cyclicals, tech and more, which gives me a different vantage point, one that uses not only an ecosystem or food chain perspective, but one that also examines demographics, economics, psychographics and more when formulating my investment views. The question I most often get is "Are you related to…."

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