The Economics (and Nostalgia) of Dead Malls

Reprint from NY Times

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Inside the gleaming mall here on the Sunday before Christmas, just one thing was missing: shoppers.

The upbeat music of “Jingle Bell Rock” bounced off the tiles, and the smell of teriyaki chicken drifted from the food court, but only a handful of stores were open at the sprawling enclosed shopping center. A few visitors walked down the long hallways and peered through locked metal gates into vacant spaces once home to retailers like H&M, Wet Seal and Kay Jewelers.

dead malls

Across America, the Dead Malls Are Growing

“It’s depressing,” Jill Kalata, 46, said as she tried on a few of the last sneakers for sale at the Athlete’s Foot, scheduled to close in a few weeks. “This place used to be packed. And Christmas, the lines were out the door. Now I’m surprised anything is still open.”

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