There are curently 34 shopping mall projects under construction in Mexico right now comprising a total of 15.8 million square feet of leasable retail space expected to be completed in 2018. That is roughly twice the amount of mall square footage delivered last year, according to MAC Arquitectos, a Mexico City design firm and consultancy.
In the U.S., by contrast, one quarter of the country’s roughly 1,200 malls are expected to close over the next five years, according to a recent Credit Suisse report.
Part of the reason is simple supply and demand. The U.S. is vastly over-retailed, with nearly 2,751 square feet for every 1,000 people in 2017, compared with just 210 square feet per 1,000 inhabitants in Mexico, according to brokerage JLL.
What’s more, a growing middle class in Mexico is gravitating toward more formal retail—shops and malls instead of the urban outdoor markets, also known as tianguis, that dot the cities across the country.
The “shopping Mall” concepto is evolving in Mexico, instead of relying on big department store anchors to drive foot traffic to smaller apparel shops, shopping malls in Mexico have grocery stores, play areas for children, sit-down restaurants, and yes, even roller-coasters.
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