"THERE are roughly 1,500 malls in the United States, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers, many of them ailing, some of them being converted into office buildings, and others closing their doors for good.
At Web sites like deadmalls.com, the carcasses of these abandoned buildings are photographed and toe-tagged, along with tributes from former shoppers. All this as the worst retail environment in decades continues to sag in a sickly economy."
"The economic crisis has caused shoppers to go into an essentials-only mode. But the mall has never trafficked in essentials. You can't, for instance, fill a prescription at the Mall of America, because it doesn't have a pharmacy. You can, however, buy a vanilla hazelnut fragrance candle in the shape of a miniature cooking skillet. Or a $13 baseball hat that looks as though it's made of cheddar cheese. A store called Corda-Roy's sells a variety of bean bags that convert into beds. Magnet Max sells a battery-operated guinea pig that runs continuously on a spinning exercise wheel."