Shopping malls in the U.S. are looking to add more entertainment venues and restaurants as part of an effort to reinvent themselves as “theater districts” focused on socializing and shopping.

To do so, many shopping malls have, or are in the process of converting vacant stores on their premises into indoor entertainment destinations, with activities including arcade games, go-karts, rides and brand experiences such as Legoland and the Crayola Experience, reported.

it’s about real-life socialization,” said
White, the
of White Hutchinson Leisure & Learning Group. “Potential
shoppers can have all the digital entertainment experiences at home.”

malls need to do something or they risk going out of business. That’s
because consumers’ habits have changed, and more and more people
are choosing to stay at home and do their shopping online. Between
2000 and 2017, out-of-home spending on entertainment fell by 3% in
the U.S., according to Department of Labor data.

amount Americans spend to go out is actually going down because
they’re staying home more,” Nick Egelanian, president of
SiteWorks, a retail consultant firm, told

so malls are resorting to creating new experiences to try and entice
people to visit them. The new American Dream Mall in New Jersey for
example, has an indoor ice rink and ski slope. Meanwhile the Tuttle
Crossing Mall in Columbus, Ohio, has converted a former Macy’s
store into an indoor entertainment zone called Scene75, complete with
children’s rides and go-karts.

it remains to be seen if entertainment alone will be enough to rescue
America’s malls.

A or B-plus level malls will survive,” White told “The
rest will turn into Amazon distribution centers or other uses. We’ve
always had too many square feet of retail, and now it’s insane.”

question that remains unanswered is if people who come to malls for
the entertainment will actually spend more on shopping.

a risk no doubt, but in any case developers are increasingly betting
on the idea of a family-oriented entertainment as a new kind of
anchor for shopping malls.

may not be retail playgrounds anymore; maybe these new businesses can
help redefine malls and their role as common social spaces,” reported.

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