Business: Melancholy Mall

Shopping center slowdown

Suburban shopping malls long ago replaced Main Street as America's marketplace and Saturday hangout. Their covered walkways and shiny stores have provided both merchants and shoppers with what seemed an ideal environment. For more than 30 years they popped up along highways and in cornfields almost as fast as developers could build them.

No longer. This year, only about nine major regional centers are expected to open, compared with more than 20 in 1978. Says Albert Sussman, executive vice president of the International Council of Shopping Centers: "There has been a real slowdown. We have been running...

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