Malls are Struggling… Why?


Photo by Nick Kallipolites

Even with COVID restrictions relaxing and many shops reopening their doors, the mall remains empty.

Daniel Botolino, Staff Writer

     The Cape Cod Mall is a staple of the Barnstable community. It provides a place to shop for things you need, get a bite to eat or even just hang out. But recently, fewer people have been doing those things at the mall. 

     Malls have been known as a place where high schoolers like to meet up and hang out. They can walk around, shop, and get the freedom that they don’t get at home. That is not happening  as much anymore and people are beginning to notice. Freshman Maddy Brown said that she used to see big groups of friends walking around but not anymore. 

     “Now, I only see small friend groups or families of two or three,” said Brown.  

      The reduced popularity of malls isn’t just in Barnstable. Research done by CNBC in August 2020 shows that approximately 25% of all malls in the country will close in the next five years. So why are malls like the Cape Cod Mall struggling so much? The most apparent reason is the COVID-19 pandemic. In March 2020 the Cape Cod Mall temporarily closed due to the pandemic, and only the Target store was kept open. Similar events unfolded at other malls all over the country, and they lost the ability to earn revenue while everyone was quarantined. 

     However, even before the pandemic, malls were seeing a downward trend in popularity due to online shopping. Malls were at their peak before the internet and online shopping became a thing. It was seen as an efficient way to get all the things you needed in one building. Now, there is an even more efficient way to buy things with rapid shipping services  like same day or one day shipping, people are less inclined to travel to a brick and mortar retailer.

     Despite all this, there is some hope for malls like the Cape Cod one. A trend over the past decade is entertainment centers being placed in malls. Malls bring in arcades, laser tag, escape rooms and even ferris wheels at some of the bigger ones. The Cape Cod Mall has been right in the middle of this, as in 2018, Ten Pin Eatery opened in the mall. Ten Pin has bowling, an arcade, laser tag and a bar as well as being a restaurant. Places like this have created an opportunity for malls as families can go there to bowl, play in the arcade and when they’re done eating they can simply walk down a hall and go shopping before they leave. This entertainment type of venue is one way malls are trying to adapt.