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Shopping centers in the United States- statistics & facts

Shopping malls were already hurting as online shopping gained territory in the United States, but the coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdowns shut most U.S. retail locations. In 2020 alone, the vacancy rate of malls and strip centers reached over six percent, while the number of stores closed by bankrupt mall-based retailers exceeded five thousand. As consumer likeliness to avoid in-store shopping grew amid the coronavirus, there was no doubt the recovery of the mall industry would be slow. Now more than ever mall operators are seeing the need to shift their shopping centers from a shopping destination to a “cultural” hub or a retailtainment (retail + entertainment) center, as a way of getting customers to once again walk through their doors.

United States shopping centers

Bloomington, Minnesota is home to the United States' largest shopping mall. With over five million square feet of gross leasable area (GLA), Mall of America outranks the American Dream and the Eastwood Mall Complex as the biggest shopping center in the country. However, by number of visitors, none of the continental U.S. retail precincts makes the top of the list. Ala Moana Center, on the island of Hawaii, gets the prize. This 2.27 million square feet mall had over 50 million visitors in 2019.

The companies behind U.S. shopping centers

Brookfield Properties, Simon Property Group, Kimco Realty, and SITE Centers are among the leading shopping center operators in the United States. With over 150 shopping centers, Simon Property owns nearly 180 million square feet of gross leasable area, compared to the 121 malls and 119 million square feet of GLA owned by Brookfield Properties. Meanwhile, as of 2020, Kimco Realty was the company owning the largest number of open-air shopping centers in the country, with 400 precincts across the United States.


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