The people have spoken and they prefer Fortnite over Cinnabon. Epic Games has announced it is taking over a mall in Cary, North Carolina to convert into its new headquarters. Who knows, maybe CEO Tim Sweeney's corner office will be in a former GameStop.
According to a release, the company will move into the new location at the Cary Towne Center by 2024. The project will mix offices with "recreational spaces" and be designed with long-term growth in mind. Epic has been based in Cary since 1999.
Writing on the wall — The same forces that are causing big-name department stores and mall operators to fall into bankruptcy — namely, pandemic-imposed lockdowns — are leading to huge gains for the tech industry. New habits are solidifying as people get accustomed to doing everything at home, from working to shopping for groceries. And many are realizing that the old ways of doing things weren't as precious as they might have once thought. Shopping malls are pretty terrible!
Now, as we're seeing, tech companies stand to gain from the death of retail in more than one way. Large real estate the size of a mall might have been harder to find during normal times.
Winners and losers — It's not that the death of retail wasn't already happening before the pandemic; malls have been on the decline for years. The process is just being sped up at unprecedented rates. According to recent data, a third of consumers in the U.S. expect to increase online spending as a result of the pandemic. The only survivors in retail look to be big box stores where essential items are sold, like food and home improvement goods.
Epic Games might not be alone in scooping up the remains of its victims. Amazon has reportedly discussed turning the former homes of J.C. Penneys and other retailers into distribution centers. With no end in sight for the pandemic, it seems like this trend may continue far into 2021.