Retail Apocalypse: The Growing Rate of Abandoned Malls Across America

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Are the days of America’s retail giants numbered? According to reports by, Business Insider, and Credit Suisse, they are, and we’re facing what’s been termed as a retail apocalypse. Malls which were once thriving hubs of business and retail have since been left abandoned across the country. Some have been repurposed as mixed-use complexes, if they get a second life at all. Others are simply shuttered, having little foot-traffic for so long, it no longer made sense for their owners to even leave the lights on. Such was the case with the Valley View Mall here in Texas. This once highly successful 1970s shopping mall found itself floundering in the early 2000s.

By 2012, Dallas city officials and developers had launched a proposal to replace Valley View Mall with a mixed-use development that came with a $4 billion price tag. It would have become what was known as Dallas Midtown. However, following years of redevelopment and more planning, in 2017 the project stalled. This left it looking like one of those creepy abandoned malls you now see listed online, with a partially demolished portion and eerie vacancies throughout. Finally, in early 2019, demolition resumed on the project, leaving behind only a small section which is home to a movie theater. In the meantime, plans for an office building as well as an apartment complex with minor retail supports are in the works for the property. This is just one of many such abandoned malls across the U.S. that faced closure and planning/redevelopment issues.

Retail Apocalypse: The Growing Rate of Abandoned Malls Across America

Photo: Pxhere

Retail operations (large and small) have been clobbered by a mixture of what analysts are seeing as a poor-performing economy and enhanced online shopping options. In 2019, retailers have announced over 9,300 closings. By Credit Suisse’s 2017 report, we’re destined to see between 20 and 25 percent of all malls in the U.S. closed up by 2022. Business Insider has called this a national retail apocalypse, crippling malls that once flourished with anchor stores such as Sears and Macy’s. To fill the void that’s left behind by the closures of these behemoths has become almost impossible for many retail complexes, paving the way for even more abandoned malls in our near future.

Retail Apocalypse: The Growing Rate of Abandoned Malls Across America

Photo: Wikimedia/Kevinwilburn1

According to Business Insider, this is a shift in the industry which has been a long-time coming. They feel many local economies will struggle with this change for years. Here in the U.S., we have the greatest amount of retail space per capita in the world (at 23.5 square feet per person.) According to Morningstar Credit Ratings, the next two countries closest to us are Canada (at 16.4 square feet per person) and Australia (as 11.1.). The words “retail apocalypse” are not something we’re in a position to rebound from any time soon. The likelihood that you could soon see more abandoned malls as we go into this new decade is high.