Los Angeles Business Journal

Caruso Calls for New Kind of Mall

By Justin Yang Originally published January 13, 2014 at 2:40 p.m., updated January 13, 2014 at 12:55 p.m.

In his keynote address to the National Retail Federation’s Annual Convention & Expo on Saturday, developer Rick Caruso said the traditional American mall will soon disappear.

Caruso, founder and chief executive of Caruso Affiliated, developer of the Grove and Americana at Brand, said in the address that the typical American mall lacked a sense of community.

“I believe the rebirth of retail will come as developers, retailers and cities understand the retail paradigm of the future is based on something timeless and enduring,” Caruso told the group at the gathering in New York. “People want to engage and feel a sense of community. They are driven by the experience.”

His speech, titled “Reimagining Main Street – How Brick and Mortar Retail Will Thrive in the 21st Century,” talked about how physical retailers need to foster that social experience to attract shoppers and compete with online retailers.

“If you’re a bricks-and-mortar retailer, I believe that today you must be in the hospitality business,” Caruso told attendees. “Any retail business can create a welcoming experience. You can create your own campfire for customers to sit around. A website can’t do that.”