Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

Check Out Line: Hanging at the mall not so fun


shopCheck out how consumers feel about shopping at malls.

Auto dealers and reporters are popular targets for hate mail. But mall operators may have reason to fear joining them if a new study conducted by the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School and the Verde Group, a market research consultancy, is to be believed.

Almost eight of every 10 people surveyed faced a problem at the mall, citing such issues as a limited choice of places to eat, lack of variety of stores, parking difficulties and a shortage of restrooms.

But keeping shoppers happy will be critical this holiday shopping season.

U.S. consumers, who spend an average of $150 per mall visit according to the study, have curtailed shopping due to the recession, the weak U.S. housing market and high food costs, raising concerns about holiday sales. More and more people are scared about their jobs — another factor in the spending slowdown.

“These findings should be a call to action for mall developers who are failing to quench this thirst for excitement,” said Wharton Professor Stephen Hoch in a statement. “Malls can’t be mundane in this economic climate.”