Bahrainis walk at a mall in central Manama.
Bahrainis walk at a mall in central Manama. - 
Listen To The Story
Marketplace

Jeremy Hobson: Thousands of retailers, developers and lenders are meeting in Las Vegas this weekend for a retail real estate convention. During the recession, shoppers abandoned malls for online deals and discount shops.

But now that trend is reversing as Marketplace's Janet Babin reports.


Janet Babin: The International Council of Shopping Centers says people are spending more at the mall -- 3 percent more than last year.

Ben Fox is a retail real estate broker with Massey Knakal Realty Services. He says the hottest topic at the shopping center conference this year will be how many people actually show up.

Ben Fox: Two years ago, you could roll a bowling ball down the central hall.

Attendance has rebounded, but still isn't back to pre-recession levels. Fox says that pretty much sums up the state of retail leasing. His deals are up, but he admits that Internet shopping has stolen some of the mall's luster.

Fox: It accounts for a growing number of sales. But at the end of the day, people enjoy the socialization of going to the mall.

Fox says retailers, though, have actually turned to the Internet too, using exclusive online deals and mobile coupon apps to attract in-store shoppers.

I'm Janet Babin for Marketplace.

“I think the best compliment I can give is not to say how much your programs have taught me (a ton), but how much Marketplace has motivated me to go out and teach myself.” – Michael in Arlington, VA

As a nonprofit news organization, what matters to us is the same thing that matters to you: being a source for trustworthy, independent news that makes people smarter about business and the economy. So if Marketplace has helped you understand the economy better, make more informed financial decisions or just encouraged you to think differently, we’re asking you to give a little something back.

Become a Marketplace Investor today – in whatever amount is right for you – and keep public service journalism strong. We’re grateful for your support.