Malls are dying. You usually have to go see something to believe it. However, if you haven't been to one lately because you do most your shopping on the Web and FedEx visits you more than your friendly postman, this isn't so incredible.
The easy explanation is that everyone is buying everything off the Web. In reality, only a very small portion of your spending is transacted online. You still spend most your money offline. Easy to blame the Web but it isn't the culprit for the death of the American mall.
Malls are dying because they were designed for a different era. They worked marvelously at a time when throngs of people all wanted to congregate and buy the same things. Malls were the ultimate mass market machinery. Every Abercrombie & Fitch store is the same across the land. Every mall housed a Gap. The only thing remarkable about every new mall was how big it could be built to break the previous size record and squeeze more mass market retailers onto every floor.
This isn't about square footage vs. bytes. This is about the masses rejecting mass marketing.