Recession, Competition Imperil Malls
100 shopping centers could be 'dead' by year's end
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted May 22, 2009 9:42 AM CDT
In this Jan. 15, 2009 file photo, shoppers are shown near an advertising kiosk at the Hanes Mall in Winston-Salem, N.C.    (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
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(Newser) – A half-century-old American standby is ailing as shopping malls around the country struggle to stay afloat, the Wall Street Journal reports. Same-store sales in shopping centers fell 6.5% in the year ending March 31, and the biggest mall operator has seen sales drop 7.3%. Some 100 malls could be labeled “dead” by the end of the year, analysts say—and only one new one has been built since 2006.

“Dead malls” are those plagued by sales woes and vacancies. With the economy hurting, “any mall that's sitting on life support is probably going to get its plug pulled,” said an owner. But it’s not just the recession that’s causing the trouble: loss of jobs and major tenants often start a mall’s decline, and big-box stores like Wal-Mart and Target are claiming more customers.