Sunday, December 19, 2010

Several area malls including North Dekalb Mall are fighting to survive

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Near Decatur, the struggling North DeKalb Mall has emerged from the long recession as a virtual ghost town, with roughly 30 percent of its storefronts sitting vacant.

A stroll through Gwinnett Place Mall shows that a similar portion of its storefronts are dark. And Union Station Mall — the former Shannon Southpark Mall in Union City — shut down in early November, except for its Macy’s and Sears stores.

While most shopping centers are fretting these days about how good Christmas sales will be, the season could prove critical for a handful of metro Atlanta’s malls.

Better-than-expected retail sales reports for November also are buoying hopes a bit.

Still, signs of holiday cheer can be a bit thin at some malls.

On a recent weekday morning, a small crowd of parents and shoppers at North DeKalb Mall’s food court quickly evaporated after an orchestra of fifth-graders from Kittredge Magnet School finished their performance.

Within minutes, the crowd was gone. Half the shops surrounding the mostly empty food court were vacant, as were roughly 30 percent of the storefronts in the mall. Few shoppers walked around.

“It looks worse than last time [she visited]. Decidedly. It makes me sad,” said Debra Scott Remlinger, who had come to North DeKalb Mall to see her son, Ian Remlinger, play the cello.

ajc story

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