The decline of the American mall has left just 700 still standing. Soon there may be just 150 left.

  • There may be just 150 malls left in the US in 10 years, according to one industry watcher.

  • There are currently around 700 malls in the US, down from 2,500 in the 1980s.

  • Malls have suffered as online sales boomed.

Once-bustling American malls are going bust as shoppers flock to online retailers instead of sprawling, brick-and-mortar locations.

Ten years from now, there will be approximately 150 malls left in the US, Nick Egelanian, president of retail consulting firm SiteWorks, told The Wall Street Journal.

That's down from around 2,500 locations in the 1980s and 700 today, Egelanian said.

A longtime fixture of American culture, shopping malls have suffered for decades amid a rise in online shopping, a decline in visitors to department stores, and, more recently, the COVID-19 pandemic, which kept consumers home.

Other industry watchers predict a similarly painful fate for malls and retail stores more generally.

In 2020, Coresight Research projected that 25% of the country's approximately 1,000 malls would close shop in the following 3-5 years. In April, analysts at UBS projected that 40,000-50,000 American retail stores would shut down by 2027. They said traditional shopping malls are at particularly high risk because shoppers now prefer to make quick trips to close-by stores, per CNBC.

According to Egelanian, the malls that will weather the storm will be premium locations with entertainment, dining, and luxury stores.

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