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Gym Tenants Are Not Driving Traffic To Malls

The Gym Group

It turns out gyms may not offer the salvation some mall landlords were hoping.

As malls have struggled to cope with bankrupt retailers and shuttered stores, landlords have turned to fitness facilities in an effort to drive traffic. But retail experts are now saying this may not be the best solution, CNBC reports.

Gym memberships have been on the rise in recent years with the number purchased since 2009 rising approximately 26%, meaning an estimated 19.3% of the U.S. population owns a membership, according to the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association.

The increase in popularity has caught the attention of a number of shopping center landlords across the U.S., who hoped that integrating a gym could attract people to stay and shop through the rest of the mall. In the last five years, the number of gym leases in malls has doubled, according to CNBC. But experts are now saying including gyms does not encourage people to spend money in the rest of the mall because people rarely stay after a workout to shop, unless they are grabbing something related to their workout like a juice or smoothie, CNBC reports.

The rise of e-commerce has limited the need for brick-and-mortar malls and America has approximately 400 malls more than it should given the rise of online shopping. To account for this shift, many malls will be forced to shutter and turn to a different use altogether, such as a medical office.