"After a few years of the development pipeline being dominated by smaller players putting up lifestyle centers (which tend to be only 500,000 square feet or less), the emergence of the hybrid format is enabling the largest players to once again set the tone for the industry. According to Friedman, Billings, Ramsey REIT analyst Paul Morgan, 16 of the 37 major mall projects opening in 2004 and 2005 are hybrid centers the most of any category.
...The rise of hybrid centers also reflects the diminishing importance of department stores in the mall retail mix. It is no coincidence that developers are branching out just as the department store sector is going through a shakeout. The merger of Kmart and Sears was the first step. The rumored Federated and May merger would be another blow. For Lou Taylor, REIT analyst at Deutsche Bank, hybrid centers typify 'an evolution in mall retail' as properties morph into bigger open-air regional centers."
Thanks to Chris Steins