Retail in the Coming Storm

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A Wal-Mart store is seen among other "big-box" retailers in the mile-and-a-half-long Chesterfield Commons strip mall, Wednesday, May 9, 2007, in the Chesterfield Valley flood plain of St. Louis. (AP Photo/Tom Gannam)
(AP Photo)

American retailers are hurting, badly. And the economic storm has not even fully hit.

Analysts are predicting a “retail Katrina” that will shutter wide swaths of stores coast to coast as the consumer-driven economy goes south.

Linens-n-Things, already gone. Many more empty malls and dead big boxes, they say, on the way.

This hour, On Point: American retail, going down. And what will we do with all those empty stores?

You can join the conversation. Are you seeing the lights go out in your local mall? What’s going to turn them back on? Tell us what you're seeing.Guests:

Joining us from Seattle is Patricia Edwards. She's a retail analyst and chief investment officer for Storehouse Partners.

From New York City we're joined by Jonathan D. Miller, a real estate consultant and principal author of "Emerging Trends in Real Estate 2009," a report just released by the Urban Land Institute and PricewaterhouseCoopers.

And from Oberlin, Ohio, we're joined by Julia Christensen, author of the new book "Big Box Reuse," which documents community reuse of vacated commercial space. She's tracking K-Marts in Buffalo and Charlotte, and a Wal-Mart in Laramie, Wyoming, all turned into schools. You can read the introduction here (pdf).

This program aired on October 23, 2008.


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