As inspored by the Macy's site selection thread, I started thinking about the many retail chains whose locations are almost exclusively confined to traditional shopping malls.
Some mall retailers have had great success with locations in lifestyle centers or hybrid high-end plazas: The Gap and Banana Republic to name a couple. Some new-ish chains are what I would call "crossovers", with locations in both malls and lifestyle centers; Metropark, Forever 21, Apple Store and Justice, for example, However, there are the established retail chains that are usually only found in malls; Hot Topic, Fye, Aeropostale, Spencer Gifts, Yankee Candle, Hickory Farms and Things Remembered to name a few, along with many sneaker store chains.
Assuming the era of new shopping mall construction is truly at an end in the United States, and existing malls continue to go dark, what will happen to the mall-only chains? Do they have contingency plans to move to lifestyle centers, plazas or even main streets? What's the future of chains such as 5-7-9, Deb, Torrid, and Foot Locker, which really aren't suited to the tenant mix of mostly upper-middle- to high-end lifestyle centers?
In my opinion, I think the future will bring far more retail chains are going to go the way Chess King, Merry-Go-Round, Airport and other lost mall chains. However, they'll fade away due to the decline of the mall rather than mismanagement or a struggling national economy.