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US Malls invest in retailtainment to entice visitors


American mall owners invested over $8 billion in refurbishments over a three-year to include added value for customers.

The findings in JLL’s report A New Mall Rises reveals that 55% of shopping malls added entertainment and attraction elements.

A significant number of malls have reduced their retail space to incorporate other facilities including hotels and children-friendly play areas.

“Malls must respond to changing shopper preferences with laser focus and evolve their purpose through redevelopments to be relevant,” John Lambert, director of JLL’s retail development said.

“Many of the 90 properties we looked at are elevating their role beyond purely shopping and becoming destinations for dining out and entertainment, community activities and even lodging and residential,” Lambert told Licence Global.

Kidzania creates a fun world for children.

Malls looking to gear up varied offering

Large sums are being spent by the major malls, with over 94% getting a makeover in the public areas, as well as rebranding, the report found.

As a general rule of thumb, mall owners who place an impactful amount of capital into a renovation hope to see an 8-10 percent increase in sales,”  Larry Jensen, director of business development, national retail property management, JLL said.

They also need to consider the expense of not renovating and take the risk of customers looking for malls which offer a wider range of facilities including entertainment and attraction offerings.

Westfield Century City has spent $1 billion, one of the most expensive mall renovations so far. Westfield’s Eataly, an Italian marketplace concept, has focused on improving their food and beverage offering as well as an events and entertainment space, plus theatres.

Among the most important additions at the Westfield Century City Mall  is an outdoor event space called the Atrium, a 1,000 seater, used for concerts and live performances.

Oakbrook Centre focuses on family entertainment with fun and games for children with KidZania. A “mini-city” that encourages children to take on pretend jobs such as truck driver, baker or doctor is expected to open in 2019.

Lindsay Kahn, a spokeswoman for Chicago-based GGP, which owns Oakbrook Centre, told the Chicago Tribune that KidZania will “take part of the space currently occupied by Sears.”

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