Two Malls Shut by the Pandemic: One empty, one busy, thanks to Target, Whole Foods


Forbes | May 17, 2020


Here’s a tale of two malls, half a mile apart, in still-locked-down New Jersey. One was busy with shoppers rushing into stores. The other had almost all 10,000 parking spaces empty.


One has a Target and a Whole Foods, and one does not, and that makes all the difference.


For the past 25 years, Garden State Plaza has been the most sought-after location for high-end department stores. European luxury brands, and direct-to-consumer startups looking to open their first U.S. stores picked the Plaza as the perfect mall to test their retail concepts.


With retailers pushed to file for bankruptcy and close stores, Garden State Plaza will be closing their Nordstrom store. The status symbol of an anchor store has shifted from a Nordstrom, Saks or Neiman Markus to a Target, Costco or Walmart. The shift is directed towards a survival tool, an essential business, supermarkets.


With a Target on one end and a Whole Foods on the other, Bergen Town Center has focused on everyday shopping for consumers. The current essentials-only mall crisis has shifted the retail scene. Garden State Plaza is forced to look towards alternative sales solutions with curbside pickup for their 200-plus retailers.


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