I’ve never been big on shopping ’til I drop at the mall, but like a lot of you, I did my part to support the economy on Cyber Monday. And I’m glad to say I made a decent sized dent in my holiday shopping. When you’ve got kids, it never hurts to start early. Fortunately, Tracy is even better about this than I am. Just check the Amazon boxes arriving on a regular basis.
Apparently, there were plenty of people out getting an early start last weekend. The numbers are in, and 165 million people shopped in stores or online from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday. It’s looking like forecasts about record-breaking holiday spending could be right.
It’s kind of surprising, given what we know about malls. We keep hearing about the retail apocalypse and how malls are struggling today. But apparently, a lot of them are reinventing themselves and doing a good job of it. Ron Friedman, the co-head of our retail and consumer products group, talks all the time about how the mall of the future is changing. He’s one of Marcum’s media experts on the subject.
Can you imagine walking into one of the big malls in your area, like Roosevelt Field on Long Island, and finding senior housing there? More malls are adding amenities like that today to make up for retail vacancies. They’re trying to turn themselves into actual communities, with office space, apartments, houses of worship, urgent care centers, karate schools, trampoline parks, you name it. A developer from Turkey is even trying to turn a mall in Columbus, Ohio into an actual town where you can rent an apartment, work, buy groceries, and dine out. It might be a little noisy to live in a mall, but then again, cities like New York are far from quiet, and that hasn’t kept 8 million people from living here. Living in a mall might even bring communities together.
What’s happening with malls is a good example of how many industries are having to stay ahead of the change curve today and transform themselves to not only stay relevant, but actually stay in business. Virtually every industry we serve here at Marcum – construction, food & beverage, healthcare, media, manufacturing, distribution, and real estate, to name a few – is having to constantly reinvent itself. The accounting industry is, too. The digital revolution isn’t letting anyone rest on their laurels right now.
But change and disruption don’t have to be bad things. There are a lot of great opportunities that come during periods of transition and even turmoil. Here at Marcum, we enjoy partnering with our clients to help them with their strategic business planning so they can make the most of what’s going on and position themselves for growth. Planning appropriately is what Marcum does best, and it’s always better to start sooner than later. Often, clients are surprised by how what looks like a threat is actually an opportunity in the making.
On that note, if you didn’t hit the stores last weekend, it’s time to plan your holiday shopping now to beat the crowds. Don’t leave it for the last second. Good luck with the parking!
Sunday night starts the eight days of Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights. Happy Hanukkah to those of you who celebrate.