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Business Panel Discussion Features Faculty Members

February 21, 2018

Two University of Montana Western faculty members, Fred Chilson and Christian Gilde, will participate in a panel discussion hosted by the Business Department of Santa Monica College on February 22, 2018.

“The Decline of Shopping Malls” panel discussion will focus on the history and future of shopping malls, “an icon of the American retail landscape for over half a century.” The panel will examine the difficulties these retail centers are facing now and over the past few years.

Fred Chilson

According to Business Professor Fred Chilson, the reason most shopping malls are declining is mostly due to cultural, economic, or geographic reasons, as well as the new retail-formats that are adopted as models for consumer shopping.

“Real estate costs continue to escalate, which in turn causes investors to be very cautious to support such projects.  But I would not quite write a eulogy for shopping malls yet. There is a possible future and revival for these elements of the business landscape,” said Chilson.

Another challenge malls face is the growth of online retail shopping. This may force the traditional mall to reinvent itself to make the shopping mall an entertainment and cultural destination.

Christian Gilde

“If malls in America want to stay in business, they have to emphasize the experience by offering extraordinary entertainment, providing superb customer service, enlisting a more diverse store-mix, and embracing technology. Even though many malls are in decline, the current situation gives shopping centers a chance to reinvent themselves for the future,” said Associate Business Professor Christian Gilde.

The other guest panelists offering insight in the discussion and Q&A session at Santa Monica College include Lorrie Ivas, Professor of Fashion at Santa Monica College, Anthony Dukes, Professor of Marketing at the University of Southern California, and moderator Sal Veas, Professor of Business at Santa Monica College.

For more information about the University of Montana Western’s Business degree program, please visit the Business and Technology Department website.