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Can Data Save the Mall?

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‘Smart Malls’ Turn to Data Troves to Enhance Shopping Experience

In the new Fashion District at Westfield Garden State Plaza in Paramus, N.J., stand a half dozen seven-foot-tall touchscreens. The larger-than-life displays have games, movie trailers, retailer catalogs, interactive directories and other applications. The digital storefronts are among the latest efforts from Westfield Labs, an innovative digital arm of the high-end mall operator, aimed at drawing more traffic to malls and keeping them there.

The misfortune of the mall has been well documented — according to a Green Street Advisors report, since 2010, more than two dozen enclosed shopping malls have been closed and another 60 are ready to follow. But top-quality malls, like many of those operated by Simon and General Growth Properties, are doing well — both reported higher sales in 2014 — and are hoping to continue that trajectory with some high-tech help. …

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Advertising Age  3/23/2015

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