Series of attacks may lead mall owners to increase security


NEW YORK (AP) — Attacks such as the one in a Munich shopping mall and at a nearby McDonald’s Friday may lead mall owners to increase their security or even persuade global brands to focus expansion plans on the U.S. rather than Europe.

Retail industry experts also said that at this point big iconic brands don’t appear to be the targets — it’s just that many of them happen to be at public places that are vulnerable to attacks.

“There are lots of Starbucks and McDonald’s, and they are in public places,” said Trevor Wade, global marketing director at Landor, a marketing firm whose clients include BMW, FedEx and Procter & Gamble.

A gunman opened fire Friday at the Olympia Einkaufszentrum mall, one of Munich’s largest, killing nine people and wounding at least 10. A body found near the scene was that of the shooter and he appeared to have acted alone, officials said.

More global brands are setting their sights on the U.S. for expansion after recent attacks in Germany and France, said Faith Hope Consolo, chairman of retail leasing and marketing at Prudential Douglas Elliman. Consolo, who brokers deals with luxury brands, said her clients feel the security situation is more “under control” in the United States.

Mall security was a big topic at a convention organized by the International Council of Shopping Centers trade group in May, she said. While U.S. shoppers don’t want to be subjected to metal detectors, Consolo said, overall, such attacks are likely to push mall owners to increase security measures.

“They’re going to have to make (the increased security appear) under the radar,” Consolo said.

After the 2013 attack at a mall in Nairobi that killed dozens, the mall trade group — which represents about one third of retail space globally — said the U.S. Department of Homeland Security reached out to corporate security at all malls.

The shopping centers council spent $2 million to develop a terrorism training program after the September 2001 attacks. Many U.S. mall operators now also have evacuation drills once or twice a year that focus on lockdown situations. They’re also sharing three-dimensional virtual blueprints of their layout with law enforcement.

Officials at the mall trade group couldn’t immediately be reached for details Friday.

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