Department stores and malls have been struggling for years. The COVID-19 pandemic has not helped. Companies like Sears and JCPenny are filling for bankruptcy, leaving giant anchor spaces vacant in malls. And malls are struggling to fill these spots. That’s where Amazon comes in. The online retail giant is in talks with Simon Property Group, the nation’s largest mall owner, to turn empty retail spaces into fulfillment centers, warehouses that fill and ship orders. Part of the deal would include Amazon taking over spaces occupied by Sears and JCPenny. Simon is looking to acquire JCPenny, which would allow them to determine what to do with the spaces that the department store previously occupied. The downside of the deal for malls is that the fulfillment centers will not attract clients however, the nature of shopping may be altered going forward due to the pandemic. Amazon would also benefit greatly, having fulfillment spaces closer to high demand areas. This is not a new tactic for Amazon as they already have taken over spaces in out of business strip malls.
Blake is a writer focused on non-profits and trade industries. He has told the stories of countless peacebuilders while covering international development with the nonprofit Search for Common Ground. He is a graduate of the George Washington University’s School of Media and Public Affairs.