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Mall vacancies hit 11 year high

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JEREMY HOBSON: People may be buying more these days but you wouldn’t know it by visiting the mall. A report out this morning says mall vacancy rates are the highest they’ve been in a decade. Over 9 percent.

Marketplace’s Gregory Warner reports.

GREGORY WARNER: Strip mall owners are desperate. They’re offering perks like free rent. And settling for retail stores they normally hate. Like chiropractic clinics.

Michael Levy is professor of marketing at Babson College.

MICHAEL LEVY: Well think about it if you’re back hurts you’re not gonna go shopping you’re not gonna get your shoes repaired.

He says small storefront business which make the bulk of strip mall retailers have taken a hit in the recession. And anchor stores keep leaving. First Circuit City, then Blockbuster —

FAITH HOPE CONSOLO: Well now wait a minute I’ll give you the here and the now. Let’s not look back lets look forward. What about when we lose the Borders and the Barnes and Nobles, because they, also were anchors.

Faith Hope Consolo chairs the retail division of Prudential. She says the strip mall as an institution is on the out

CONSOLO: It just doesn’t work anymore the format doesn’t work.

It could be going the way of the department store. In Philadelphia, I’m Gregory Warner for Marketplace.

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