Two Bit Circus, a virtual-reality “micro amusement park” offering a range of games and activities, is just the type of entertainment concept that could tenant — and even anchor — malls in the future, according to its promoters. But such tenants, observers note, will complement, not replace, retail at the mall.
“There’s a huge appetite — particularly [among] Millennials, but really everybody — for new stuff to do in public,” said Two Bit Circus co-founder and CEO Brent Bushnell, speaking toThe Wall Street Journal. The company is currently in talks with several of the biggest mall developers in the U.S. to lease space for future locations, Bushnell says.
Such concepts will keep people at malls for hours on end, offering entertainment that cannot easily be replicated online, but the same is true for physical retailers, which continue to seek good malls in choice locations, experts say.
Two Bit Circus
“Mall tenancy has changed. What hasn’t changed is the human desire to socialize”
“There’s a myth out there that historical retail is dead or dying or will die soon,” said Mikey Vu, a Bain & Co. retail consultant, speaking to the newspaper. “We just don’t think that’s true.”
What malls have in their favor is people’s continuing need to gather and to be entertained, observers say. “Mall tenancy has changed,” said Alexander Goldfarb, a senior REIT analyst at investment bank Sandler O’Neill & Partners. “What hasn’t changed is the human desire to socialize.”