CAT 2017 - Slot 1 - Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension - This year alone, more than 8,600 stores could close

This year alone, more than 8,600 stores could close, according to industry estimates, many of them the brand -name anchor outlets that real estate developers once stumbled over themselves to court. Already there have been 5,300 retail closings this year... Sears Holdings—which owns Kmart—said in March that there's "substantial doubt" it can stay in business altogether, and will close 300 stores this year. So far this year, nine national retail chains have filed for bankruptcy. Local jobs are a major casualty of what analysts are calling, with only a hint of hyperbole, the retail apocalypse. Since 2002, department stores have lost 448,000 jobs, a 25% decline, while the number of store closures this year is on pace to surpass the worst depths of the Great Recession. The growth of online retailers, meanwhile, has failed to offset those losses, with the e- commerce sector adding just 178,000 jobs over the past 15 years. Some of those jobs can be found in the massive distribution centers Amazon has opened across the country, often not too far from malls the company helped shutter. But those are workplaces, not gathering places. The mall is both. And in the 61 years since the first enclosed one opened in suburban Minneapolis, the shopping mall has been where a huge swath of middle-class America went for far more than shopping. It was the home of first jobs and blind dates, the place for family photos and ear piercings, where goths and grandmothers could somehow walk through the same doors and find something they all liked. Sure, the food was lousy for you and the oceans of parking lots encouraged car-heavy development, something now scorned by contemporary planners. But for better or worse, the mall has been America's public square for the last 60 years. So what happens when it disappears? Think of your mall. Or think of the one you went to as a kid. Think of the perfume clouds in the department stores. The fountains splashing below the skylights. The cinnamon wafting from the food court. As far back as ancient Greece, societies have congregated around a central marketplace. In medieval Europe, they were outside cathedrals. For half of the 20th century and almost 20 years into the new one, much of America has found their agora on the terrazzo between Orange Julius and Sbarro, Waldenbooks and the Gap, Sunglass Hut and Hot Topic. That mall was an ecosystem unto itself, a combination of community and commercialism peddling everything you needed and everything you didn't: Magic Eye posters, wind catchers. Air Jordans. ... A growing number of Americans, however, don't see the need to go to any Macy's at all. Our digital lives are frictionless and ruthlessly efficient, with retail and romance available at a click. Malls were designed for leisure, abundance, ambling. You parked and planned to spend some time. Today, much of that time has been given over to busier lives and second jobs and apps that let you swipe right instead of haunt the food court. ' Malls, says Harvard business professor Leonard Schlesinger, "were built for patterns of social interaction that increasingly don't exist."

Q. 1: The central idea of this passage is that:
A) the closure of mails has affected the economic and social life of middle-class America
B) the advantages of malls outweigh their disadvantages.
C) malls used to perform a social function that has been lost
D) malls are closing down because people have found alternate ways to shop.

Correct Answer:- C Explanation:-

The central idea of the passage is summed up in the last sentence of the passage – “Malls … were built for patterns of social interaction that increasingly don’t exist”. The passage signifies malls as “gathering places”, “societies have congregated around a central marketplace”, “mall was an ecosystem” and “a combination of community and commercialism” and so on and so forth. Moreover, malls are not missed by America today, given the all-encompassing scope of digital lives. Hence, the advantages and disadvantages of malls, as given in (2) is irrelevant. People’s shopping trends are not the focus of this particular passage, so (4) is ruled out. (1) is not at all true, given that “A growing number of Americans … don’t see the need to go to any Macy’s at all.” Hence,

(3) is the answer.

Q. 2: Why does the author say in paragraph 2, ‘the massive distribution centers Amazon has opened across the country, often not too far from malls the company helped shutter’?
A) To highlight the irony of the situation
B) To indicate that mails and distribution centres are located in the same area
C) To show that Amazon is helping certain brands go online
D) To indicate that the shopping habits of the American middle class have changed.

Correct Answer:- A Explanation:-

(2) is suspect, would all malls and distribution centers be located in the same area? Anyway, this is beside the point. Nowhere in    the passage is it indicated that Amazon is assisting brands to go online, so (3) is also suspect. The change in the shopping habits of Americans have been mentioned much later in the passage in a different context altogether, so the point is not really pertinent   here. Thus, (4) is also ruled out. The sentence in question is just an ironic observation of the author (“opened …. shutter (closed)”), which is likewise mentioned in passing, hence there is no need to read too much into it. The answer is (1).


Q. 3: In paragraph 1, the phrase “real estate developers once stumbled over themselves to court” suggests that they
A) took brand-name anchor outlets to court
B) collaborated with one another to get brand-name anchor outlets
C) were eager to get brand-name anchor outlets to set up shop m their mall
D) malls are closing down because people have found alternate ways to shop.

Correct Answer:- B


To “court” is to pay special attention to someone in an attempt to win his/ her support or favour. The sentence, thus, suggests that real estate developers were pursuing brand-name anchor outlets once upon a time in the past ; note the word “once”. Clearly, real estate developers are no longer pursuing brand-name anchor outlets.

Q. 4: The author calls the mall an ecosystem unto itself because
A) people of all ages and from all walks of life went there
B) people could shop as well as eat in one place
C) it was a commercial space as well as a gathering place.
D) it sold things that were needed as well as those that were not.

Correct Answer:- C Explanation:-

The mall as an ecosystem is qualified in the passage as a combination of community and commercialism, so there is no need to   look beyond (3). (1) skips the commercial aspect. (2) is on track, but though it mentions ‘eat’, it does not mention ‘meet’. Nor does

(4) touch upon the community aspect.


Q. 5: Why does the author say that the mall has been America’s public square?
A) Malls did not bar anybody from entering the space
B) Mails were a great place to shop for a huge section of the middle class
C) Malls were a hangout place where families grew close to each other
D) Malls were a great place for everyone to gather and interact.

The passage signifies malls as gathering places, and adds that “societies have congregated around a central marketplace”. That being the case, (4) is the answer. The restrictions in (1) are not mentioned in the passage. (2) is straightaway rejected, given in the third paragraph that “America went for far more than shopping”. (3) is maudlin, given that families only get a passing mention as “family photos” in the third paragraph.


Q. 6: The author describes ‘Perfume clouds in the department stores’ in order to
A) evoke memories by painting a. picture of mails
B) describe the smells and sights of mails
C) emphasise that all brands were available under one roof.
D) show that malls smelt good because of the various stores and food court.

Correct Answer:- A Explanation:-

We have to link the given quote to “Think of your mall. Or think of the one you went to as a kid”. These sentences open the floodgates of memory. So (1) is the answer. (2) misses the point that malls are disappearing, hence the sense of urgency for the nostalgia trip down memory lane. (3) makes light of the ambience of malls – “fountains splashing below the skylights” and   thus   can be ruled out. The case in (4) – the smell of malls, and what contributes to the same, is beside the point.


Checkout Other Questions of CAT 2017 Slot 1 Paper:

Verbal Ability :              |   Q.01- Q.06  |  Q.07- Q.12  |  Q.13- Q.18  |  Q.19- Q.21  |  Q.22- Q.24  |  Q.25- Q.29  |  Q.30 – Q.34  |

Logical Reasoning :    |   Q.01- Q.04  |  Q.05- Q.08  |  Q.09- Q.12  |  Q.13- Q.16  |  Q.17- Q.20  |  Q.21- Q.24  |  Q.25 – Q.28  |   Q.29 – Q.32  |

Quantitative Aptitude: |   Q.01- Q.05  |   Q.06- Q.10Q.11- Q.15  |  Q.16- Q.20  |  Q.21- Q.25  |   Q.26- Q.30  |  Q.31 – Q.34  |


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