The much-awaited American Dream Mall is set to open its doors to the public and brands at a time when the retail landscape is facing its biggest test due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The project, located in New Jersey Meadowlands, has taken 17-years to come to completion. However, it now faces a long way before it achieves its status as the world’s greatest shopping, dining, and entertainment destination.
Low Tenancy Concerns
Built to accommodate up to 300 retail stores, the mall is unlikely to enjoy full capacity when it opens its doors. The number of tenants that will be operational is likely to be below par, amid a decline in traffic to shopping malls that has forced many brands to shut down retail outlets. So far, only 33 retails store are likely to be operational once the mall is opened on Thursday.
Most of the stores that will be operational at the start are those belonging to mainstays H&M American Eagle, Bath and Body Works, and Sephora. The Dream Mall could suffer from only a few stores offering shoppers what they cannot find in other malls nearby. For instance, the Aland store will offer Korean Fashion and lifestyle.
The mall is likely to suffer from subdued tenancy as retailers that were supposed to be the foundation of the mall have already gone bankrupt or refraining from opening new stores. The pandemic has taken a significant toll on brick and mortar stores amid the social distancing policies put in place that continue to restrict movement.
Brick & Mortar Uncertainty
Shopping patterns have since switched to online, resulting in a significant reduction in mall traffic. Likewise, with the U.S battling the second wave of infection heading into the winter season, Triple Five could struggle to attract even half the number of brands required to fill the mall.
The Dream Mall is not the only one struggling with occupancy levels. A good number of malls have seen occupancy levels shrink significantly across the country as people stay at home and order goods online.