The latest in a trend of big box stores closing is J.C. Penney. The retail chain announced today that it will be cloing more than 100 stores. Six thousand employees will either be forced to retire or find another job.
Store closings are a result of online shopping. Macy’s and Sears announced months ago that they will be closing dozens of stores as well.
That also means many malls are being forced to reinvent themselves. The big box retailers are known as anchor stores – occupying the best locations at a mall. But as they close, many malls are being forced to come up with new ways to keep customers coming back.
“If you think about the mall as a place where you buy stuff, the mall is dead,” said Frederic Brunel, a professor at Boston University.
Brunel says successful malls usually have upscale restaurants or other entertainment as part of an effort to stay relevant when shoppers have more reasons to shop at home.
“They're going to be much more centered around experiences, around services, around things you cannot order online,” said Brunel.