Mall owners reject the notion of a retail apocalypse

by Suzette Parmley

NEW YORK — Mall owners may have one of the toughest jobs on the planet with the implosion in retail, but three top executives whose job it is to fill them with viable tenants contend that the doom and gloom is exaggerated.

“There’s no retail apocalypse,” said Stephen D. Lebovitz of CBL, which is headquartered in Chattanooga, Tenn., with properties mostly in suburban markets, at a panel last Thursday night in New York on the state of his industry. “We’re still viable. We’re not going away. Ninety-one percent of retail sales are still from stores. You’re stuck with us.”

Seated next to him was Joseph Coradino, chief executive officer of Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust (PREIT), which is redeveloping the former Gallery at Market East into a sprawling shopping, dining, and entertainment complex called Fashion District Philadelphia with fellow mall developer Macerich.

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