I haven't personally but at 3 different times in 3 very large high traffic malls I sat with some friends of mine who did. One was at Christmas and was selling a thing for kids at a low price so should've done very well.
All three of them didn't even break even.
I think you really have to have something that a lot of people want or a high profit margin in order to cover the high costs of being there.
Not to mention the long, long hours, right out there in front of everyone.
The operating costs are obviously lower than a regular retail store, but profitability of mall kiosks varies around the country. In some areas, almost none of them make money. In other areas, most do. The best thing to do is go to the mall in which you're considering a kiosk and visit with both the mall's management and existing kiosk owners. Ask how long they've been there and how they're doing. See how they'd feel about another vendor coming in.
In this area, the most profitable model for mall kiosks right now seems to be one that sells seasonal products -- i.e., instead of having the same products year ‘round, the owners change their displays and products several times a year. In my area, one successful kiosk sells home and party decorations -- they display things like birthday, wedding, and baby shower items all the time -- but the rest of the stock changes to reflect holiday themes (New Years, Valentines, St. Patrick, etc.). Another profitable kiosk sells sports merchandise that changes with the sports seasons. One key seems to be having fresh things to look at (so you don't become "invisible" to shoppers), and things to put "on sale" regularly so bargain hunters take the time to stop and see what you're about.
G, Yes I have had TWO carts in two different malls and Have helps 4 or 5 people set up carts when they
visited SCORE for FREE help
Lighthouse always has good answers.
YES to your question do carts in malls make a profit. YES
The amount of profit depends on 3 items, 1) What they are selling, 2) Location of Mall and 3) time of year/
SCORE suggests you develop a Business Plan.
Good luck, LUCKIEST
hi thank you for all the advice. the reason i am asking about the carts is if i have to close my store. i would like to try something similar but in a better location. you guys are a wealth of information. i do not know what to do regarding my retail store. should i keep trying and wait until they kick me out or should i just close up shop. i am behind on my rent 3 months now. we have been open 1 year. two other businesses that i was counting on being here to generate more traffic into our plaza closed during the summer. i am asking you because you have experience. what do you advise ? i am trying to think of ways to stay in business but that does not seem to be working. its hard with limited funds. we are in what is called the season but i don't see it.
Thanks for sharing. Hope we can help in the future.
Good luck, LUCKIEST
Giorgio, I understand your dilemma and empathize totally. +Should you keep trying or close up shop+? No one can advise you on that without having a lot more detailed information about you and your business than you'd possibly want to share in this forum.
Like playing a poker hand, the decision to bet or fold is both a financial and an emotional one. We can only tell you about the flop -- the community cards on the table (i.e., the business conditions that affect you and everyone else). We can't see your cards, nor can we predict the turn and river cards (the future).
In general, if you don't have the makings of a potentially winning hand, it's better to fold early than to go through multiple rounds of betting and still end up with nothing to play. After all, as long as you have a heartbeat, there will always be another table to join and a new game to play. Lots of successful business owners were unsuccessful business owners first. On the other hand, when you have something you really believe in, you have to go "all in" and play your cards. No guts, no glory.
Look ahead to December 2008 and imagine where you might be (financially and emotionally) if you fold now and move on to something else. Then imagine where you might be if you stick it out and play this hand to very end. Choose the path that yields the better result.
I wish you the best.
Oh yes!!! I had a cart in Northwoods Mall in Charleston SC. It is long hours as you have to be open the hours of the mall. Also keep in mind that rents tend to triple or quadruple during the couple of months before Christmas. The other item which is timely for now. Mall traffic is down as much as 40% in some areas. Department stores, which are the mall anchors are hurting and even closing. Think this through carefully as to not jump from the frying pan into the fire!
Hey there. I was just wondering if you started your cart business in the mall and how is that working out for you. Any advice or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Just wanted to share my recent experience, i recently started a cart business in Galleria Dallas. I had a great product, i did the research and everything prior to starting my business but unfortunately i made a huge mistake by picking Galleria Dallas, didn't have many sales, people just don't like to buy from the carts. I also noticed that other carts were struggling as well. Management is good but not very flexibly plus the rates are too high. Luckily i signed up a short term lease but i lost a lot of money.
So, yea if you are based in Dallas area and thinking about starting a cart business, learn from my experience and pick a different mall.
Blogster, I read your post with interest. Why do you think "people don't want to buy from carts"? Wrong location? Good traffic but few sales? Product didn't 'match' the location? Any helpful comments from potential buyers passing by? Do you think high rent was the main deal breaker?
I'm sure you have some good first hand experience and I am interested in hearing what you learned.