Though often thought of as a dying breed, shopping malls are thriving in the post-recession environment shopping center industry. According to the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), occupancy rates for shopping centers at the end of 2014 are the highest they have been since 2008 at 92.7%, and occupancy rates for malls specifically are the highest they have been since 1987 at 94.2%. Base rents are also increasing at a healthy rate (6.5% on the year for shopping centers and 17.2% on the year for malls). This is the strongest annual gain for mall base rents since ICSC began tracking the data in 2000.
Not everything is looking up, however; large retailers such as Radio Shack, Sears, J.C. Penney, and Kmart are either declaring bankruptcy or closing a large portion of their stores. These drastic measures are being taken in order to remain significant in the shopping landscape that is quickly becoming an online industry. The majority of endangered locations for these retailers as well as malls, according to FBIC and CoStar, are in smaller markets with less population and income density and regions with widespread economic distress.