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Retail Apocalypse: Should Mall Owners be Worried?

Retailer bankruptcies, department store struggles and empty malls have dominated recent U.S. retail news headlines. The apparent culprit? A mass movement to online shopping. The “retail apocalypse” has led to fears of consumers abandoning physical bricks-and-mortar stores in favor of online shopping. In this paper, we use MSCI data to illustrate that, despite the inexorable rise of e-commerce over the last 20 years, retail asset performance in the U.S. has been surprisingly resilient, providing stable returns and operating metrics. All the same, the changing retail environment means portfolios must be well managed to be positioned for the transition underway.