By Perry Lefko
Are American consumers ready to buy a car at a shopping mall?
The company that owns Mall of America in Minnesota and American Dream in New Jersey said it is in discussions with potential auto-retail tenants for its massive shopping and entertainment centers. Triple Five Group, based in Edmonton, Alberta, has already drawn a Toyota dealership to its West Edmonton Mall, a high-profile theme-park retail venue in Canada.
While the explosion in online shopping has challenged shopping centers across North America — Triple Five disclosed that it lost $64.3 million on American Dream last year — partnerships between dealerships and malls could reap cross-marketing opportunities, according to retail experts.
“We’ve always wanted car dealerships in our shopping centers, but what has made [this attractive] is it is taking up excess space left by traditional anchor-type retailers,” said Triple Five spokesman Daniel Person.