During the economic good times of the nineties, Malls where I live were full. Full of stores and full of people. When the economy went in the dumber,one by one large businesses closed up shop got rid of their employees. People that lost their jobs had no disposable income, some people sold their houses and moved somewhere else. Over a period of 10 years, malls had a lot more vacancies, and then started losing their anchor stores too. Penny's. Searcs, and a number of other large stores are gone.
Mall owners charged extremely high rent, everything in the mall was very expensive, right down to the food courts. Malls required tenant stores to stay open all the hours the Mall was open, and the one Mall Music store was one of the first stores to close. No traffic meant it wasn't worth paying the rent, and employees would quit because working for hourly at an empty store was not worth it for anyone.
I was never mall customer anyway.
A friend of mine runs a JC Penny here locally at a mall. He runs half the store and said if an anchor store moves out it's usually a good sign the mall is headed for a down turn.