Store Closures Hit Local Malls

Brian Giffin, Manager, Westgate Mall
Brian Giffin, Manager, Westgate Mall

Retail chains are caught in a wave of bankruptcies across the nation. Slumping sales and a tightening market has unleashed slew of cautious shoppers and store closures. Stores like Disney and Glamour Shots have disappeared from the Westgate Mall.

With Wilson's Leather leaving next week. Store clerks say an estimated 158 Wilson Stores nationwide are closing, which leaves shoppers speculating why. Some blame gas, the economy and inflation, shopper Irene Balderas says "Everything is going up including prices of everything. People are gonna look for the prices even if it's $10 cheaper their gonna go their to save $10 to put in your pocket."

Mall manager Brian Giffin says, stores at Westgate are doing fine. Giffin said, "Unfortunately it's like the survival of the fittest with the retail world. Stores will leave and we'll bring new ones in better."

Some shoppers are not so optimistic about the retail store trend. Out of town shopper Shane Everett says he has to prioritize when he shops. "If we come up we have a list. We just can't come up to go the movies or things like that any more," Everett said.

The Westgate Mall is at 90% capacity with only a handful of leasing spaces open. Giffin says "We have stores that just don't make it. They don't change, get into financial trouble for what ever reason.."

Everett agrees, "The stores are not making any money, can't afford to have extra people. Extra people don't spend money. It'll keep spiraling until something gets done."

According to a consumer spending report, sales at stores open at least a year fell 0.5 percent.  Making it the worst performance in 13 years.