Retail malls have seen significant distress from store closures as part of the ‘Retail Apocalypse,’ leading some malls to be foreclosed or shutdown entirely. However, which malls fail is not random. The purchasing power of the surrounding community, along with other mall competition, can be a strong predictor of a mall’s ability to avoid distress. When evaluating U.S. cities with more than 10 retail malls, we found that San Francisco, Chicago, New York City, Seattle and Dallas to be the “strongest” cities for malls. The weakest cities for malls include: Orlando, Las Vegas, Charlotte, Tampa and San Bernardino. We use demographic and mall location data to rank which malls are geographically advantaged/disadvantaged – we analyze 18 Atlanta-area malls as a case study to determine the strongest and weakest malls.

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