Friday, May 22, 2009

There's a very in-depth article on the current and future state of American shopping malls in today's Wall Street Journal. Dozens of malls around the country are struggling and the WSJ leads off its story with Eastland Mall: "On the low-income east side of Charlotte, N.C., the 1.1-million-square-foot Eastland Mall recently lost a slew of key tenants, including a Dillard's and, next month, a Sears. Sales per square foot at the venue fell to $210 in 2008 from $288 in 2001."

Eastland is reported as one of 84 "dead malls" out of an evaluation of more than 1,000 malls nationwide. Dead mall is used to describe those that are in danger of going under and are considered to be any large, enclosed mall generating sales per square foot of $250 or less, with the U.S. average being $381.

While a handful of other malls are cited, the majority of the focus of the 2,000-word article is on Eastland. And even though the headline of the article is "Recession Turns Malls Into Ghost Towns," Eastland's decline began long before this current recession:

"Eastland's reign lasted roughly two decades. Its market began to erode when the area around Eastland fostered low-income housing. Meanwhile, the Charlotte area's more affluent residents and new arrivals gravitated to suburbs on the city's north and south ends. Developers built and renovated malls in those suburbs, drawing shoppers away from Eastland."

Click here to read the full article.


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