Shopping in Western New York is a lot different than it was in 1989, when the Walden Galleria opened, and going to the mall was the premiere shopping experience.
Instead of red carpet mall openings and window shopping, big box retailers like Macy’s and Sears are closing up shop.
In the last year, Macy’s has closed at the Eastern Hills Mall in Clarence and the McKinley Mall in Blasdell. Just in December, Sears revealed plans to close at the Boulevard Mall in Amherst and the Walden Galleria in Cheektowaga.
It’s trends like these that Charles Lindsey, an Associate Professor at The University at Buffalo School of Management says are expected to continue.
“You’re going to see more store closings. You’re going to see some malls go out of business,” he said.
The obvious reason is e-commerce and the boom in online shopping. Shoppers say the online trend is the easiest and most efficient way to shop.
Professor Lindsey says Amazon is now worth more than Kohls, Target, JcPenny, Sears, and Barnes & Noble combined, cashing out at an estimated 400 billion dollars, and taking cash away from local big box stores.
Despite this trend, management at the Eastern Hills Mall tell 7 Eyewitness News the mall is at 98% capacity, and the former Macy’s will soon be filled, although the mall isn’t saying by who. The Walden Galleria, which will soon lose Sears also says it as two new big tenants scheduled to open this year. With more shoppers looking for deals, Lindsey says retailers still need to find a way to compete.
“If you look at discount department stores like TJ Maxx and Marshalls, they’ve done pretty well,” he said.
Lindsey says in the future, we’re going to see more and more stores continue to close, and be repurposed. He says as stores continue to downsize, they will set up shop in mixed-use facilities that offer an experience, like restaurants, entertainment and living space.