Springfield, OHIO—The Upper Valley Mall here used to be a place that drew in shoppers. Now it looks like a fortress designed to keep them out. The concrete façade of the empty department store looms large at one end, the letters that once spelled ‘JC Penney’ removed but their outline still present. A recently shuttered movie theater anchors the mall’s middle, its dark glass foreboding. And at the other end, an MC Sports store is draped in garish yellow and red signs that read “STORE CLOSING” and “EVERYTHING MUST GO.”
Inside the mall, the majority of the stores are empty, their gates locked. Only a few bother to put up “for lease” signs. In the past few years, this mall has lost JC Penney and Macy’s, American Eagle, Christopher & Banks, Rue21, Deb Shops, Vanity, and Kays, to name a few, according to Brenda LaBonte, the mall’s manager. The few that remain—a CVS, a Claire’s Boutique, and a Hot Topic—were empty on a recent weekday evening.
Scenes like this are playing out across America. As my colleague Derek Thompson has pointed out, the reasons for the decline of malls are multifold: People are buying more things online, developers built too many malls in the 1980s and 1990s, and consumers are now spending more on services and less on material goods.
But these changing in spending habits have big implications for the counties and towns that depend on retail for sales- and income-tax revenue. Many of the areas affected by retail closures have already weathered other departures: factories closing, young people departing for bigger cities, home values dropping. The constant departure of more retail stores is another blow. Counties in Ohio, for instance, get half of their budget from the sales tax that they levy on top of the state’s 5.75 percent rate, …read more
Source:: The Atlantic – Business