Online shopping to kill malls? Not during my generation, for sure.

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There has been many examples of how online sales are growing while the retail sales, especially those of the malls are slowing. Another article has appeared to provide the same school of thought, that malls would be ‘murdered’ by online sales. ‘Will Amazon kill Singapore malls?’ The article quoted one mall called John Little in Singapore which has shut its door after a 174-year run. (I have casually strolled through this mall once many years ago. It does not look impressive to me then) The article also mentioned that the lease for many bigger malls are on a downtrend too. Towards the end of the article, it shared that one part of Funan mall which used to specialise in selling of electronics may find it tough when it reopens in 2019 because by then, no one goes to a store to buy a computer or a phone. Not all are bad news, the article said that as of now, nothing much has changed and even Capitaland Mall Trust was still giving a 5.5 percent annual dividend which continues to be very healthy versus the fixed deposit rate.

As soon as we google for more information, there are even more of such gloomy predictions, the typical mall as we know would soon be history. Not too long ago, some ‘smart’ writer in a publication in Malaysia said the same thing, that online will kill malls. Malls, household debts and bankruptcy? There are also articles like this for the U.S. Dying shopping malls are wrecking havoc in suburban America. Before we are sucked into everything gloomy, this is what they intend to do with some dying malls. Build more residential units from them!  By the way, mall CEOs are not taking the ‘mall is dying’ lying down. This is what they say, “The Whole ‘Malls Are Dying’ Thing Is Getting Old, Say Mall CEOs.” Some of their strategies include reducing the clothing section as well as adding grocery stores and even doctors!  (I think it makes sense. Malls should be a place where I could do everything that I wanted to do, including seeing a doctor and buying some groceries after that. Unless we can now use google to become our doctor, I think clinics in malls are a good strategy)

Personally, I love to visit malls and I just bought something online yesterday and today. I still need malls for my kids to run around, to have a cozy place for a birthday dinner, to have a place to have a cup of coffee with good friends and even just to touch all the things that I would like to buy before I buy them. My wife and I would never substitute malls with online purchases. By the way, ALIBABA is buying its own PHYSICAL MALL. Here’s that piece of news. Alibaba building malls for retailers. To them, it’s simple. Customer experience comes first and a physical mall can help. Oh yeah, they already have a working mall called Home Times too. It is the best of both worlds by the way. Here’s that article: Alibaba integrating e-Commerce with brick and mortar shopping. Malls are definitely nowhere near extinction. However, I think the models would continue towards an integration of e-Commerce and convenience and customer service all into one. Yes, I will be visiting malls frequently for the next 20 years.

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written on 25 Oct 2017

Next suggested article: Freeze licenses for new shopping malls? Well…. 

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