- Jason Nelson/Getty Images
- As shopping malls struggle to attract consumers, many have closed or converted to serve new uses.
- Many features that were once common at malls have becoming increasingly rare.
- These include playgrounds, arcades, and appearances and concerts from pop stars.
Malls once played a pivotal role in how we shopped and socialized. Many malls that would once be crowded on any given afternoon are now struggling to fill vacancies, with some being converted into residential or business centers.
As a result, malls have lost many of the distinctive stores and features we used to associate with them.
Here are some of the stores, features, and behaviors you no longer see in malls:
When malls were a weekend destination for families, many of the shopping centers would have playgrounds so that kids wouldn’t become restless after watching their parents run errands.
The electronics retailer used to have a large physical retail footprint before it declared bankruptcy in 2008. It now sells its merchandise through its website, catalog, and third-party retail partners.
Promotional appearances from pop stars
- Jason Nelson/Getty Images
Back when people bought CDs, pop stars like Britney Spears and Avril Lavigne would promote their new albums by touring malls, which would often be overwhelmed by young fans.
- Brett Deering/Getty Images
As its signature jeans have become less fashionable, True Religion has struggled to retain market share. The company filed for bankruptcy in July and announced plans to close at least 27 stores.
Movies set in malls
- Facebook/Mean Girls
Back when youth culture revolved around shopping and hanging out with friends in malls, movies targeted toward teens – like “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” and “Mean Girls” – would often feature their characters spending time in malls.
- Tim Boyle/Getty Images
Bookstores like Borders and Waldenbooks used to be fixtures at shopping malls, but like many independent and chain bookstores, each has gone bankrupt.
No trip to the mall as a kid was complete without throwing a penny into the fountain, but fountains are no longer as common as malls try to cut costs.
- Daniel Goodman / Business Insider
Consumers used to indulge their fantasies of owning expensive clothing and electronics by looking at store displays, but social media platforms like Instagram and Snapchat now serve the same general function.
- Spencer Platt/Getty Images
CD sales have plummeted over the last decade, resulting in many big-box record stores closing. While it used to be a major player in the CD market, Virgin no longer operates its flagship stores in the United States.
The rise of home video game consoles made most arcades obsolete.
Back at the height of shopping malls’ popularity, they were popular destinations for teenagers looking for their first jobs.
The sports apparel retailer filed for bankruptcy in 2016 and later closed all of its stores.
Sports memorabilia stores
- Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images
Stores that sold autographed apparel and equipment from sports stars used to have a significant presence in shopping malls.
Spending all of your allowance
- Steven Depolo/flickr
While many adolescents and teens used to head straight to the mall after receiving their allowance, e-commerce has made shopping malls a novelty rather than a staple.
- Wikimedia Commons
Electronics stores like RadioShack have struggled to compete with online retailers in recent years. After filing for bankruptcy last March, RadioShack closed more than 1,000 stores last year.
People smoking cigarettes
- Cameron Spencer/Getty Images
While smoking used to be allowed in public spaces, anti-smoking laws have made it less common over the past few decades.
The toy company once known for its massive stores is now shifting to displays inside other retailers, like Macy’s.
While it filed for bankruptcy in 2001, the educational toy retailer’s founder, David Schlessinger, now runs the discount company Five Below.
After filing for bankruptcy in June, the children’s clothing company closed over 25% of its stores.
Big Black Friday lines
- Kena Betancur / Getty Images
The music and entertainment chain Sam Goody used to be a mainstay at shopping malls before the company filed for bankruptcy in 2006.
Music videos filmed in malls
- YouTube / NewRadicalsVEVO
Warner Bros. Studio Store
- Justin Sullivan / Getty Images
Warner Brothers’ branded stores used to compete with Disney’s, but the company closed all of them in 2001.
While Generation Z seems to like malls more than millennials, malls aren’t nearly as popular with teenagers now as they were in the ’80s and ’90s. And now, some malls are even banning unsupervised minors at certain times.
Toys R Us
After declaring bankruptcy in September, Toys R Us filed a motion to liquidate on Thursday. The company struggled to deal with an enormous amount of debt after it went private in 2005. It is now preparing to sell or close all of its more than 700 stores in the US.
People going on dates
Going on a date to the mall was a staple for high schoolers in previous decades, but as mall traffic has dwindled, so has the number of people who bring their significant others there.
The electronics and home appliances retailer struggled for years before it decided to close all of its stores in 2017.
- Flickr/Phillip Pessar
Teen retailer Wet Seal filed for bankruptcy and closed most of its stores in 2015. The company closed for good in 2017.