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Liquidator Sees Mall Closings In Offing

This is a bit self-serving, but interesting nonetheless.

A combination of a weak U.S. economy, tight financing, a crippled U.S. consumer and changes in shopping habits could close many U.S. malls, a retail liquidator said at the Reuters Restructuring Summit on Wednesday.

"A lot of this will be going away because America was over retailed and over malled," said Nina Kampler, executive vice president of Hilco Real Estate LLC.

The U.S. economic downturn has forced retailers to scale back expansion plans, close stores or shut their doors. And more retailers likely will fold or shrink under the weight of the financial crisis that has tightened credit, Kampler said, adding hat will mean only the fittest malls will survive.

"There's going to be massive consolidation," she said.

The vacant space will likely not be used for retailing, said Kampler, whose company helps failed retailers such as Steve & Barry's, Linens n' Things, and Wilsons The Leather Experts, shed their stock, fixtures and real estate.

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