Highlights. The United States is home to an estimated 1,150 malls; some sources project that by 2032, there may be as few as 150 malls still in operation.

  • Projections indicate that up to 87% of large shopping malls may close over 10 years.
  • Closed malls are empty for an average of 3 years and 11 months.
  • The number of malls declined 16.7% per year from 2017 to 2022.
  • 2 million square feet of mall space was demolished in 2022.
  • The nationwide mall vacancy rate is 110% higher than the overall average retail vacancy rate.

Graph Bar: Retail Real Estate Vacancy Rates according to Jones Lang LaSalle IP, Inc.

Mall Closures & Vacancy Statistics

Shopping malls are more than twice as likely to be vacant as the average retail space.

  • By some estimates, there were as few as 700 large shopping malls left in the U.S. in 2022.
  • Malls had an 8.6% vacancy rate at the end of 2023.
  • In 2023, there was a negative net retail mall absorption* of 406 thousand square feet.
  • Class C malls with less than $300 in annual sales per square foot have a vacancy rate of 10.2%, 18.6% higher than the overall vacancy rate for shopping malls. 
  • Class B malls ($300 to $500 annual sales per sq ft) have a 6.8% vacancy rate; Class A malls ($500 or more in annual sales per sq ft) have a 3.6% vacancy rate.
  • An average of 1,170 shopping malls closed every year between 2017 and 2022.
  • The average vacant mall sells at 43% below its acquisition price.
  • Shopping malls had a high-end average vacancy rate of 11.4% in 2021.
  • From 1986 to 2017, shopping malls closed at a rate of 581 per year.
  • U.S. malls, large and small, numbered 25,000 in 1986.

*Net absorption is the net utilized retail space versus unused space.

Grouped Bar Graph: Mall Space Demolished per Quarter from 2021 Q1 to 2022 Q4

Mall Repurposing Statistics

Empty malls are often repurposed; such subsequent uses include sports centers, flex spaces, restaurants, and self-storage.

  • 31% of vacant malls subsequently acquired new tenants through pop-up.
  • 16% of empty malls reopened as mixed-use centers.
  • 8% of vacant malls became warehouses, 7% became residential housing, 5% became delivery or distribution centers.
  • 4% of vacant malls became community college or university spaces; a further 4% became health care, hospital, or medical facilities.
  • 25% of vacant malls reopen for other purposes.
  • 20% of vacant malls are rezoned.
  • Banks finance 41% of repurposed malls.
  • 18% of repurposed vacant malls are financed by retail real estate investment trusts.
  • 17% of repurposed malls are financed by private investors.
  • 5% of repurposed malls are funded by governments (local, state, or federal), 2% are financed by credit unions, and 15% have other sources of financing.

These data and insights were compiled by the Capital One Shopping team based on publicly available data.


  1. National Association of Realtors, Case Studies on Repurposing Vacant Retail Malls
  2. Jones Lang LaSalle IP, Inc., United States Retail Outlook
  3. Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, Econ Focus: The Economic History of the Shopping Mall
  4. Business Insider
  5. The Motley Fool, What Is a Class A Mall?