WSJ: Mall Vacancies Soar to 6-Year High as ‘Retail Apocalypse’ Rages

F McGuire – April 2,  2018

Empty space in regional shopping malls has reportedly soared six-year high in the first quarter as the retail apocalypse continues to intensify.

The vacancy rate in big U.S. malls increased to 8.4% in the first quarter of 2018, up from 8.3% in the fourth quarter and the highest since the fourth quarter of 2012, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing real-estate data firm Reis Inc., which studies 77 metropolitan areas.

The “retail apocalypse” refers to the closing of a large number of American retail stores beginning in 2016 and expected to peak in 2018.

More than 8,000 U.S. retail stores closed in 2017, roughly double the average annual store closures in the previous decade, as American consumers shift their purchasing habits due to various factors, including the rise of e-commerce. Reuters reported, citing data from the International Council of Shopping Centers.