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There could be over 10,000 store closings in malls in 2010, according to Michael Burden, principal at ExcessSpace Retail Services, which helps retailers rationalize their real estate portfolios and negotiate with landlords. In 2009, about 7,000 stores closed, though there were predictions of 12,000 to 14,000.
It's not just low sales causing the problem, according to Burden: it's also "duplications in markets" (too many similar stores) and "a move to carrying less inventory."
However, some stores are expanding—including Sephora, Kohl's,and Zara, which recently opened two stores in Chicago, on Michigan Avenue and State Street. And some analysts think the gloom and doom is overstated, citing the willingness of landlords to negotiate leases and the difficulty of closing stores unless a company is in bankruptcy.