US shopping malls are the emptiest they’ve been since 2012, according to a report from real-estate research firm Reis Inc.
The vacancy rate reached 8.6% in the second quarter, up from 8.4% in the first quarter.
The new figures show a situation that hasn’t been this worrying for six years, back when the U.S economy was still struggling to recover from the most recent recession.
According to Reis, the highest post-recession vacancy rate was in the third quarter of 2011, recorded at 9.4%.
The shopping slowdown is again being blamed on the fact more consumers seem to be switching to e-commerce websites because of the convenience that online shopping brings.
According to data from the US Census Bureau, in this year’s first quarter, e-commerce sales accounted for 9.5% of total retail sales after adjusting for seasonal variations, up from 9.1% in the previous quarter.
Some of retails biggest names have been hit the hardest, with the likes of Sears Holdings and Bon-Ton being forced to shut down a number of their department stores, with more closures announced today already.
It is thought these closures could affect some of the world’s most well renowned watch brands as the likes of Bulova, Citizen, Fossil and Swarovski, among others, often feature in the stores owned by the largest American retailers.