Retail

Mall Now A Four-Letter Word For Some Operators?

Turns out “mall” is a passé, a name, a nomer that hearkens back to the musty days of the 80s.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the “four-letter” word has been getting the boot from … mall operators. Call them something else, then, it seems.

In numerous examples cited by the financial publication, rebranding is afoot. Consider Parmatown Mall, in Parma, Ohio, which has been refashioned as The Shoppes at Parma. Hanover Mall, situated in Hanover, Mass., is now Hanover Crossing. Thus, the trend, boiled down into two re-names. Said one marketing professional involved in a handful of the name changes, some words are anathema, such as pavilion and galleria, which are words that have mall-ish connotations.

The WSJ said that landlords are taking the names away at scale. There are 90 regional malls that have renovated in just the past four years and, as calculated by property consultancy JLL, 17 have stripped away the “mall” designation.

Along with the name changes, the renovations have brought some deeper structural changes. There are malls with apartments, and there are malls with gyms and even hotels.

In one interview with the WSJ, Will Voegele, who serves as senior vice president at Forest City Enterprises, said that “retail, especially in the context of mixed-use projects, is as much about place, experience, entertainment, wellness and community as it is about shopping, and the word ‘mall’ doesn’t fully embody those qualities.”

Others say a mall by any other name may not smell as sweet. The WSJ noted that a swath of locations still carry the moniker. That would include the Mall at Short Hills, where, for example, Bill Taubman, COO of the New Jersey mall’s owner, Taubman Centers, said making a name change would “undo years of brand recognition and value for little return.”

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