"Shopping-mall owners have struggled this year with a darkening economy, slowing consumer spending and store closings by retailers. But they face another problem that may persist long after the economy bounces back: a decade of overbuilding.
Developers have built one billion square feet of retail space in the 54 largest U.S. markets since the start of 2000, 25% more than what they built during the same period of the 1990s, according to Property & Portfolio Research Inc. of Boston. U.S. retail space now amounts to 38 square feet for every person in those 54 markets, up from 29 square feet in 1983, the firm says."
"Of course, retail landlords struggle and store vacancies rise in every economic downturn. But this time, experts say, the overbuilding means that high occupancy rates at malls and strip centers may not return for years."