Shoppers talk indoor malls after plans to close Hattiesburg Sears

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - One of Turtle Creek Mall's anchor stores is closing.

The parent company of Sears is shutting down stores across the country, including the Hattiesburg location. The company told employees, it will close more than 100 additional stores this year. 39 Sears and more than 60 Kmarts. That's because they're not profitable.

That blank space will leave a hole inside Turtle Creek Mall. Jessica Bowman spoke with shoppers about mall traffic and if it's changing because of online merchants and stand-alone stores.

"I think indoor malls serve a purpose, especially on days like today when it's raining," one shopper said,

"If someone is located in a traditional mall, they are really going to have to provide that experience for the shopper to go there or else they are going to purchase something online," Zach Smith said.

It's a matter of shopper preference. Although, you are not seeing indoor malls being constructed as much as in past years. Smith worked in retail for more than 10 years at a traditional indoor shopping mall. He feels, that style of shopping is beginning to decline.

"I do think the traditional mall is fading out," Smith said. "People in my opinion, if they are going to go out and get that shopping service, they are wanting something specialized."

Now, some shoppers are turning towards online stores and individual brick and mortar stores.

"It's so easy to buy something online these days from the comfort of your own home," Smith said.

Looking at this trending topic, an Iowa State University Economist points out the shopping mall scene is not dead, but you may see a shakeout as fewer indoor malls exist.

"I think there will always be a place for indoor shopping malls, just like there will always be a place for stand-alone stores," a shopper said.

We did reach out to Turtle Creek Mall to see what's going to happen with the empty space that Sears will leave behind, though our calls were not immediately returned.

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