It's the end of the mall as we know it


Last weekend, I went to the Westfield Galleria in Roseville, a suburb of Sacramento, to check out the grand opening of its new wing of stores.

I guess Westfield has a lot of confidence that Roseville is recession-proof and residents still have money to spend -- the new shops included Louis Vuitton, Lush Cosmetics, H&M and Hot Topic. New stores opening there next year include Tiffany and Burberry. The stores were crowded but most people simply ogled, then exited empty-handed (I did my part to prop up the economy by buying a $6 Bath Bomb at Lush).

Global recession notwithstanding, Westfield also opened a humungous mall in London this month, even though Brits say they don't like shopping in malls. Simultaneously, Dubai is crowing about being home to the world's largest mall, with 600 retailers. Meanwhile back here in the U.S., home to more than 2,000 shopping malls, retailers are going out of business right and left, leaving darkened windows and abandoned space behind. Malls now seem more appealing to skateboarders than shoppers as a place to cruise. So are they on their way to extinction?