Finance 20 things you never see in malls anymore

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Arcades, playgrounds, and appearances from pop stars like Avril Lavigne used to be common at shopping malls. Not anymore.

Many features that were once common in shopping malls have become obsolete. play

Many features that were once common in shopping malls have become obsolete.

(Jason Nelson/Getty Images)
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  • 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.

Playgrounds

Playgrounds play

Playgrounds

(Brennan Linsley/AP)

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.



Sharper Image

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Sharper Image

(Eric Risberg/AP)

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

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(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.



True Religion

True Religion play

True Religion

(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

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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.



Waldenbooks

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Waldenbooks

(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.



Fountains

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Fountains

(Branimir Kvartuc/AP)

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.



Payless

Payless play

Payless

(Damian Dovarganes/AP)

The discount shoe chain struggled to adapt to a changing retail climate and filed for bankruptcy in April. It closed about 900 stores, bringing its store count to 3,500.



Window shopping

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Window shopping

(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.



Virgin Megastore

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Virgin Megastore

(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.



Arcades

Arcades play

Arcades

(Andrew Savulich/AP)

The rise of home video game consoles made most arcades obsolete.



First jobs

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First jobs

(Jose Luis Magana/AP)

Back at the height of shopping malls' popularity, they were popular destinations for teenagers looking for their first jobs.



Sports Authority

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Sports Authority

(AP)

The sports apparel retailer filed for bankruptcy in 2016 and later closed all of its stores.



Sports memorabilia stores

Sports memorabilia stores play

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

Spending all of your allowance play

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.



RadioShack

RadioShack play

RadioShack

(Wikimedia Commons)

Electronics stores like RadioShack have struggled to compete with online retailers in recent years. After filing for bankruptcy in March, RadioShack has closed more than 1,000 stores this year.



People smoking cigarettes

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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.



FAO Schwarz

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FAO Schwarz

(Reuters)

The toy company once known for its massive stores is now shifting to displays inside other retailers, like Macy's.



Zany Brainy

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Zany Brainy

(Dan Loh/AP)

While it filed for bankruptcy in 2001, the educational toy retailer's founder, David Schlessinger, now runs the discount company Five Below.



Gymboree

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Gymboree

(Facebook/Gymboree)

After filing for bankruptcy in June, the children's clothing company closed over 25% of its stores.