Mall vacancies continued to trend upwards during the first quarter of 2021, increasing from 10.5% at the end of 2020 to 11.4%, according to a Chain Store Age report.
The findings, which came from Moody’s Analytics, underscore the devastating impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic on retailers. Stay-at-home orders and store closings hit retailers hard, in addition to a number of bankruptcies, including Neiman Marcus, Brooks Brothers, Lord & Taylor, and Modell’s Sporting Goods, according to Chain Store Age.
The jump in mall vacancies marks the highest ever recorded for the sector, outpacing the slide of 80 basis points seen during the Great Recession at the start of 2009.
However, empty malls are becoming targets for warehouse spaces as retailers experience a significant need for space to fulfill online orders after consumers turned to e-commerce during the pandemic.