In “White elephant,” I speculated about the fate of White Oaks Mall in a future in which bricks-and-mortar retailing seems doomed by the internet. Jordan Weissman -- who looks younger than some of the store displays at WOM – tells us in a recent Atlantic post not to worry.
“The investment bankers at Piper Jaffray & Co., which has long tracked teenager consumer habits, recently asked more than 5,000 teens whether they prefer to do their shopping on the Internet or IRL. More than three quarters of both males and females said they preferred trekking the to the store. As Pew notes, they see shopping as a time to hang out with friends. And as Piper Jaffray has found, about 40% of their budgets are devoted to fashion—clothes, shoes, and accessories.
Weissman adds, Suffice to say, the eternal desire of 16-year-olds to hang out at Abercrombie with friends isn’t going to save all of retail, even if the local mall still has its place.” I'm not sure. In some parts of the country, catering to these teens is the local mall’s place.
A typical example comes from California – natch. The Northgate Mall in San Rafael, which was built in the 1960s, was redesigned and the store mix adjusted to appeal solely to local teens with lots of time, plenty of spending money and an apparently insatiable appetite for trashy clothes and music. Says Tiffany C. on Yelp, “I love this place! But which girl would not love a jewelry/accessory heaven.”
None I know.