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The Surprising New Place You May Be Able to Grocery Shop

Grocery stores could save the beloved retail destinations.

The American mall, a once-ubiquitous shopping destination, has been declining in popularity among both shoppers and businesses in recent years. All over the country, mall locations have been closing amid struggles to find tenants and attract new customers.

Related: 10 Beloved Food Court Eats That Are Vanishing Along With Malls

But recent rumors of a partnership between Amazon and Simon Property Group, the biggest mall owner in the U.S., hinted at a new vision for malls—as convenient destinations for grocery shopping.

A report by CNBC this week speculated Amazon may be in talks with the real estate giant about turning vacated retail locations inside its malls into Amazon's grocery stores, a pursuit that would be of mutual benefit to both parties.

Nether company has confirmed or denied the pending grocery partnership. Amazon has a policy of not commenting on rumors or speculation, according to a statement emailed to CNBC.

Here's why grocery stores could save malls

Grocery stores as the central driver of foot traffic in malls is a common practice in Europe and Asia. While Americans may not be as used to the idea, malls are having to think outside the box in order to fill vacancies, especially ones left behind by big box retailers like Sears and J.C. Penney.

In the last decade, malls have been moving in an increasing number of service- and experience-oriented businesses like gyms, restaurants, and movie theaters, in order to survive the shift in consumer behavior. The addition of grocery stores, which have been thriving during the pandemic, would round out the new mall experience for the consumer, and give the neighboring retailers a much needed boost in customer traffic.

Amazon's steady expansion into groceries

The tech giant's expansion into the grocery business started with its acquisition of Whole Foods in 2017. A year later, they started experimenting with a cashier-less grocery store concept by opening the first of 26 Amazon Go locations in urban areas. While specific plans for their grocery vertical are largely kept under wraps, the company did announce a new grocery concept debuting later this year in Woodland Hills, California, but was mum about the details.

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Mura Dominko
Mura is a Deputy Editor leading ETNT's coverage of America's favorite fast foods and restaurant chains. Read more about Mura