Shopping mall owners get creative to save businesses

Reporter: Nicole Lauren Writer: Jackie Winchester
Published: Updated:
Credit: WINK News

Shopping malls are quickly becoming a thing of the past as the pandemic forces stores to close for good, leaving empty storefronts.

Some malls are implementing creative solutions to try and stay afloat.

Simon Property Group owns Coconut Point in Estero along with many other properties. The company is transforming the retail industry, looking to keep certain stores while also getting creative to keep shoppers coming in.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Simon has been in talks with Amazon, looking to convert certain empty department store spaces into warehouse distribution centers.

At the same time, the company has been bailing out stores filing for bankruptcy to keep the retail industry alive. Some of those stores include Brooks Brothers and Lucky Brand.

Some shoppers say the future of shopping malls is uncertain.

I think they’ll still be around but they’re going to be smaller and fewer of them around,” said Dave Buelow of Fort Myers. “Because that’s the trend I see, more and more stores closing.”

“Well, there’s not too many people shopping in the stores anymore and the shelves are not very full at all,” said Diane Meissner.

“Who wants to shop there when they can shop online… With the pandemic going on,” said Sandy Kuntz.

There is also speculation that Simon could potentially bail out troubled department store giant JCPenney as well. The retailer has filed for bankruptcy and is closing more than 100 stores nationwide, including one in Fort Myers at Gulf Coast Town Center and one at the Coralwood Shopping Center in Cape Coral.

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