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The Internet Is Mauling America's Malls

Longtime Eagle Rock resident Allenby Arakielian remembers when the little mall on Colorado Boulevard was the neighborhood hot spot for shopping and dining.

The Internet Is Mauling America's Malls

Anchored by Montgomery Ward and May Co. stores when it opened in 1973, the 58-store Eagle Rock Plaza was so popular that old-timers complained it was killing nearby mom-and-pop businesses. But the shopping center has long since been eclipsed, first by bigger malls and then the Internet.

“This used to be the place everybody came to, and it isn’t anymore,” said Arakielian, who watched Target take over the failed Montgomery Ward spot, while May Co. morphed into Macy’s. Papered-over windows replaced several chains, including Radio Shack and Anna’s Linens.

“I’m surprised to see Macy’s still open,” Arakielian said last week at the mall, where he had been picking up some vitamins.

Consumers’ increasing enthusiasm for buying online claims more retail victims every week.

Last week, children’s clothing seller Gymboree Corp. filed for bankruptcy protection and said it intends to close some of its 1,281 locations.

Two weeks ago, the parent company of Ann Taylor, Lane Bryant and other women’s clothing stores said it plans to close up to 667 locations in the next two years to slash costs.

The week before that, luxury brand Michael Kors Holdings said it expects to shut 100 to 125 out of its 827 stores to focus on expanding in Asia and to adjust to the mushrooming growth of online shopping.

It’s all part of one of the biggest disruptions in shopping patterns since the mail-order catalog was invented.

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