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Thread: Can mall-based opticals survive?

  1. #1
    What's up? drk's Avatar
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    Can mall-based opticals survive?

    In my experience, our very upscale mall is losing popularity. Not just due to virus fears, but because that way of shopping is on the wane.

    I have a hard time understanding how mall-based mega-corporate opticals are going to survive.

  2. #2
    Ghost in the OptiMachine Quince's Avatar
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    Very much looking forward to the day my (current) mall closes. That is the only way my shop will make it out. The owner is too comfortable with the current situation to be pro-active enough to move though the mall I'm in now (same company/ different location; from one mall to another) is switching over to renting office space instead of shops.

    As for the big guys, I assume it is a similar formula to Warby where they make money elsewhere and can afford the loss in overhead for the image. Obviously LensCrafters is a sink hole, but the money Lux makes from the rest of their umbrella keeps the doors open so that they can keep that level of exposure.
    Have I told you today how much I hate poly?

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    Master OptiBoarder LENNY's Avatar
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    they will survive if the owners reduce the rent and CAM

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    They will either leave the malls or perish.

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    Master OptiBoarder rbaker's Avatar
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    The question is "can the malls survive?" Malls have been closing left and right for the past twenty years. More and more consumers are shoping on-line and with the current COVID restrictions utilizing pick-up options which the traditional mall is ill equiped to handle. In some areas the mall has become a high crime area. People just dont go there no more.

    My guess is that the corporate eye care businesses will stick it out until their lease expiires and they can find a stand-alone location.

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    Master OptiBoarder AngeHamm's Avatar
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    My parents' home town of Williamsport, PA is an interesting case study. They built a mall about 10 miles out of town in the early 80s and downtown declined terribly. Store closures right and left, including my uncle's men's clothing store, which had been open for over 50 years. then Wal-Mart, Target, and Kohl's came on the scene and the mall started to lose businesses. Now they've had a big new money fracking boom and the downtown area that was a ghost town 15 years ago is booming with thriving small businesses and interesting restaurants. And the mall looks like an apocalyptic movie set. Weird cycle.
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    I agree that malls/bricks-mortar retail are struggling in the fight with on-line retail.

    But regarding 'mall-based opticals', I'm not so sure the situation is as dire.

    As a matter of fact, malls are trending towards medically based tenants to fill the voids of those retail tenants lost to on-line retailers.

    to wit:
    https://www.cnn.com/2019/07/23/busin...nic/index.html


    https://blog.naiop.org/2018/10/mall-...edical-office/

    https://www.bdcnetwork.com/medical-o...vacated-retail


    Anecdotally, I'm in a mall-based optical, and the last two years have been phenomenal.
    The mall has had a lot of turn-over/loss however.

  8. #8
    What's up? drk's Avatar
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    Interesting take. Medical malls?

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    Rising Star IIxIPariahIxII's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by drk View Post
    Interesting take. Medical malls?
    You know, that's really not a bad idea. When you consider medical complexes, that would be an interesting way to save the malls. Not to mention, WE GET OUR OWN FOOD COURT! Don't ask, I don't know why that thought made me super happy right now. Although it is time for lunch.....>.> At any rate. That's actually a pretty solid business plan. You get medical tenants, they won't need to rely so heavily on sales to stay afloat, and it becomes easier for patients to navigate and knock out multiple appointments in one go if they need to. I think it would also remove that stale and sometimes uncomfortable doctor's office atmosphere. There's plenty of advantages. And I'm sure you could get some small shops to come in and spice up the atmosphere.

  10. #10
    Master OptiBoarder rbaker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by drk View Post
    Interesting take. Medical malls?
    In my neck of the woods we find that all of our health care providers, and we have a half dozen, are within walking distance of the hospital. Very convenient. Existing malls are ill suited for health care delivery. We find converting them to apartments and condos is the trend. You can also scrape the lot and put up a sports complex.

  11. #11
    Rising Star IIxIPariahIxII's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rbaker View Post
    In my neck of the woods we find that all of our health care providers, and we have a half dozen, are within walking distance of the hospital. Very convenient. Existing malls are ill suited for health care delivery. We find converting them to apartments and condos is the trend. You can also scrape the lot and put up a sports complex.
    True, most hospitals have a plethora of medical complexes that spring up around them. Although I'm sure you could cater to some of the more specialized fields and say, have a retina specialist just down the way etc. But you are right, the trend has been converting them or tearing them down and putting up shops and offices/apartments above them. In the Triangle, we just had Cary Towne Center sell after closing down. Surprisingly, Epic Games bought the mall to move their corporate offices there and expand their studio space at their already expanded headquarters just down the road. But they're keeping Dave and Buster's and Starbucks in the building lol. I imagine they may try and pull some places back to the food court as well.

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