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Economy and Business

Belden Village, Great Northern malls part of a $1.6 billion sale
Analyst says bricks and mortar stores are seeing a bit of a rebound

Web Editor
M.L. Schultze
Retail sales in traditional stores are starting to make a comeback, if they specialize and if they recognize how to use e-commerce.
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In The Region:

Great Northern Mall in North Olmstead and Belden Village Mall in Stark County are part of a group of seven malls that are being sold by the world’s largest shopping-center operator. WKSU’s M.L. Schultze has more on who’s in the market for brick-and-mortar malls in these growing days of e-commerce.

LISTEN: The balance of e-commerce and traditional stores

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Starwood Capital Group is paying Westfield Group $1.6 billion for the seven malls, which also include one in Toledo. 

The malls are primarily in the Midwest, are lower performing and have more limited in options when it comes to redevelopment.

Chris Christopher  is a retail analyst for IHS Global. The firm doesn’t comment on particular companies, but he says traditional retail is seeing a bit of a resurgence, with new retail construction finally coming out of the recession.

“All this being said, Americans spend less time shopping on the weekends and holidays in part because of ecommerce retail sales is approximately 5.8 percent of total retail trade…. But in addition, people’s income is not increasing as much as it used to between 2002 and let’s say 2006.”

Christopher says shopping centers that specialize  in luxury goods – or conversely in discount stores – are doing better than those that offer a traditional mix of stores.

Last year, Westfield sold seven other U.S. malls to Starwood for $1 billion. And it sold a half-interest in six Florida malls in March to another investor for $700 million.

Here's an extended Q&A with Chris Christopher of IHS Global about the challenges of retail:
Signs of recovery for retail, even with e-commerce looming

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