Easton Town Center designer Yaromir Steiner, whose Steiner + Associates operates the 4-million-sq.-ft. retail mecca in Columbus, read the news about Amazon talking with Simon and thought perhaps he should give them a call.
“It would be incredible if Amazon could develop a ten to twenty thousand-square-foot retail component. That would give them a brand presence and create some traffic for the mall, while using the rest of the space as a fulfillment center,” Steiner said.
Chances are that more mall owners will be calling on Amazon because Amazon is going to be calling on them. When online grocery purchases rocketed up in April and May, a survey of consumers conducted by the research firm Escalent found that 77% of them were happiest with Walmart. Next came local supermarkets, and then came Amazon.
Amazon isn’t used to being in third place.
“Ninety percent of Americans live within 10 miles of a Walmart store,” Penfield pointed out. “They have the ability to placate the needs of online shoppers right then and there. The only way for Amazon to catch up is to establish all those mini-DCs—and empty department stores are their prime opportunity to get them.”