Retail shopping malls have been on life support for at least a decade as they try to diversify into entertainment destinations, office parks and in some cases, bulldozed and turned into residential areas. Looks like the Sears Announcement has a few people worried.
In my personal opinion? Fuck malls. They brought a bit of this on themselves. When you discourage teens from using your service or coming to your establishment don't come out and whine that those same people, now in their 40's and with families, avoid you. There are two big malls in town that are worth acknowledging their existence. The one in the wealthy side of town is booming. The one in the blue collar area advertises senior services, mall walker programs, and other senior related programs. This is not a bad thing if you can build a sustainable business model around it. But, your customer base is not going to be around long due to the limits of human lifetimes. And they are not welcoming to younger kids so those kids won't have a good nostalgia tingle when it comes to their time to choose where to shop.
I do not own any brick and mortar retail stocks. None. Starting to look like that was a good long-term decision.
I currently work in a mall...
...well, it used to be a mall. I sit in a cubicle in what was the men's department in a Montgomery Ward store decades ago. Now it houses one of our datacenters and some office space. Other tenants in "the mall" include an urgent care facility, a university department (I think they ran out of room on campus) and a small marketing company. The rest of the space is a revolving door of other businesses... There have been a few for-profit universities, call centers, etc. I think that physically speaking, there can be life after retail, but it needs to be managed correctly.