Malls in state of change, real estate developer says

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - The business of shopping is changing, a local commercial real estate official said, noting it is a trend that is being seen and felt around the country.

According to Josh Brown with Haag Brown Commercial Real Estate Development, malls are seeing changes.

In recent days, a pair of stores in The Mall at Turtle Creek have announced they are closing this month. The news about Dress Barn and Versona have people asking questions about what may be in the mall's future.

Officials with Dress Barn announced Tuesday that they would be closing their store in the mall, effective Dec. 16. Employees at Versona said the store, which features Italian fashions, will close on Christmas Eve.

The news is something that has been seen nationally as well. The Charlotte Biz Journal reported that retailer Cato had plans to close more stores than expected, while CNN Money reported that retailers like Ann Taylor, which is owned by Ascena, were closed along with Dress Barn.

The company plans to close between 250 and 650 stores around the country, CNN Money reported.

Nationally, Brown said people are going to local boutiques to buy clothing. Also, malls in larger areas have opened restaurants, movie theaters, and grocery stores to bring in customers.

"Larger cities, they're changing into big residential projects with lots of entertainment, lots of grocery stuff. In markets like Jonesboro all across the country, it's very strange what's happening," Brown said.

While Brown does not believe the mall will close, he said there may be some changes at the mall.

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