The retail market is hardest hit by the pandemic – but even within the industry, not all retailers are equally affected. Restaurants, closed malls, and open-air malls are treating the pandemic differently. The differences range from government-implemented restrictions to consumer convenience.
"Many jurisdictions still restrict and restrict the operation of closed malls by severely restricting and / or prohibiting in-store shopping." Scott Grossfeld, a partner at Cox, Castle & Nicholsontells GlobeSt.com. “The same rules don't usually apply to open-air shopping centers. In open-air centers in many countries, retailers are currently generally permitted to shop in-store, although some conditions apply that aim to limit congestion and high customer traffic within the store. "
Open air shopping malls are more uniquely positioned to adapt to shopping needs. "Many open-air shopping centers, especially entertainment or lifestyle centers, have park-like properties and are open and inviting," says Grossfeld. “Landlords have found that people who have been in trouble due to the pandemic are starting to ease restrictions on venturing out of their homes and enjoying spending time in community-centered malls to relax. This often leads to the added benefit of shopping associated with it. "
Owners of closed shopping centers, on the other hand, have the challenge of promoting consumer traffic while at the same time complying with safety rules. "Gated project landlords and retailers are trying to alleviate these restrictions by offering roadside and other forms of pick-up services where customers can order products over the internet or phone and have them delivered to cars in the project lot or at home." says Grossfeld. "Unfortunately, while such options offer retailers some degree of economic relief, they are not the same (or as good) as in-store shopping."
Restaurants are among those retailers who have seen severe restrictions but have also been able to adapt. “In many countries, restaurants are still prohibited from serving customers on their premises,” says Grossfeld. “Your only option is to serve customers in remote locations such as patio areas, sidewalk locations, public areas, or other temporary outdoor areas within the center, or to use a take-out or pick-up service. The landlords of many open air centers have been creative and flexible, and have allowed tenants to take advantage of many outdoor areas of shopping malls that were not previously used for outdoor dining to help these retailers save their businesses. "
While closed malls owners have fewer options to serve customers, they are also trying to find solutions to keep them generating income. "Closed mall landlords are also trying to provide workarounds so that restaurant tenants can offer more than just take-out and delivery," says Grossfeld. “Some landlords have designated parts of the mall's outdoor parking spaces and structured parking garages for outdoor seating areas for their restaurant tenants. While this allows restaurant tenants to generate more business by offering meals on-site, it was generally agreed that this is much less attractive and less desirable than the outdoor seating areas found in open-air malls, which are usually in good shape – well-kept common areas versus sterile parking lots and garages. "