By: Ismael Rodriguez

There’s a new trend in the mall business, and it’s gyms and spas like Equinox in Aventura Mall, for example, are becoming popular mall tenants as department stores and retailers decline across the country.

The real underlining reasons behind the emerging gyms in malls and shopping centers are due to a booming fitness industry, and the slow decline by retailers, who are folding because of the unrelenting competition brought on by e-commerce, according to the Wall Street Journal.

As a result, Chicago-based General Growth Properties, for one, is planning to bring gyms to half of its 115 malls within the next 10 years, CEO Sandeep Mathrani told the press. Phillips Edison & Company is another developer that has embraced the trend, with nearly half of its 340 grocery-anchored shopping centers harboring a gym already.

Memberships to these gyms have increased by 26 percent since 2009, supporting other businesses within the same shopping centers.

In South Florida, the trend is in full swing as Equinox has already opened locations in Aventura Mall and the Shops at Merrick Park; LA Fitness sits in man shopping centers like the Shops at Sunset Place in South Miami; and even the Boca Raton-based Orangetheory Fitness has recently opened in the Miami Design District and in Downtown Dadeland.