What’s in the future of local shopping malls?

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Sears says it lost more than $2 billion last year and there is “substantial doubt” it will be able to keep its doors open.

But the retail giant also insists its actions to turn around business should help reduce that risk. Sears, which also owns Kmart stores, has survived of late mainly with millions in loans.

The company announced in January that it would close 150 stores including Kmart stores in Mechanicsburg and Lancaster and the Sears store at the Capital City Mall in Camp Hill.

With more anchor stores closing, what does that mean for malls? The once-favorite hangout of teens and shoppers isn’t drawing the same crowds.

“Over the long term of things, we’ve seen retail move from the traditional downtown to suburban location in the malls and then there were strip malls and more recently, there were big boxes in the power centers,” said David Black, president and CEO of the Harrisburg Regional Chamber and Capital Region Economic Development Corporation.

“Retail always seems to move and shift a little bit, and I think what we’re starting to see now is a lot of the impact of online shopping,” he said.

Black doesn’t believe the closures will have a negative impact on local malls.

“I think the mall developers watch trends, they attend trade shows, they read a lot,” he said. “They kind of know what’s coming and going, so I think they’ll be making adjustments.”

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