It’s the height of Christmas shopping season but a record number of people are doing their shopping from their couch instead of the mall.
Inside Sooner Mall Wednesday, the holiday hustle and bustle were anything but. A mall spokesperson won't comment on if traffic is down, but the empty storefronts told the story of what malls across the country are experiencing: national chains, once mall staples, are closing shop.
In 2019, retailers said they closed 9,300 stores across the country.
John Santore has owned “Nearly New” in Nichols Hills for 55 years and has managed to stay successful, even with the creation of the internet.
“If you’re not buying airplane tickets on the internet, that’s kind of silly. But if you’re buying wedding dresses on the internet, that’s kind of silly,” said Santore.
Santore believes he's been able to stay in business by offering something unique and different you won't find anywhere else.
“What’s happening with the malls right now is there’s such a sameness going on,” he said. “They’re not particularly sensitive to what people want, what their mindsets are.”
Experts said just as stores need to evolve, malls do too.
At Quail Springs, a new aquarium is coming this summer and a fitness center took over when Macy's moved out.
Malls that don't find a way to reinvent themselves could go the way of Crossroads Mall. Santa Fe South School is now it's only tenant.
Analysts estimate by 2022, one out of every four malls in the U.S. could be out of business.