1 in 3 American malls are doomed: Retail consultant Jan Kniffen

Retail rout points to changes
Retail rout points to changes

About one-third of American malls are not long for this world, retail analyst Jan Kniffen said Thursday.

The CEO of J. Rogers Kniffen Worldwide Enterprises spoke after Macy's reported its worst sequential same-store sales decline since the financial crisis. Macy's and other retailers got slammed by a warm winter and cool spring, as well as the continued migration of millennials to fast fashion and off-price stores, Kniffen said.

People walk past Macy's flagship store in Manhattan, New York.
Macy's results reminiscent of financial crisis

The results are also a sign of the country's oversupply of retail space at a time when commerce is moving online, he added.

"On an apples-to-apples basis, we have twice as much per-capita retail space as any other place in the world. The U.K. is second. They're half of what we are. So, yes, we are the most over-stored place in the world," he told CNBC's "Squawk Box."

With the U.S. having an estimated 48 square feet of retail space per citizen, the footprint is poised to decline "pretty fast," Kniffen said.

In his view, about 400 of America's 1,100 enclosed malls will fail in the coming years. Of the survivors, about 250 will thrive and the rest will struggle. Likewise, Macy's probably needs 500 of its roughly 800 existing stores, he said.

He said the mall owners and operators most likely to come out on top are Taubman Centers, General Growth Partners and Simon Property Group.