Report: Store Closings Put Real Estate Market at Risk

New York City Store closures and retail bankruptcies continue in regions across the country, however, the social impact of these empty stores could be devastating in the long-term, according to a report by CNNMoney.com.

According to real estate research firm Reis, more stores continue to exit malls, and these vacancies could rise past 7% by year-end, a level that has not been hit since the first quarter of 2001, the report said. These empty stores’ impact on communities is expected to be equally detrimental.

In its most recent forecast, the International Council of Shopping Centers reported that 6,100 chain stores will shutter this year; the highest level since 2004 "as the U.S. recession continues to take its toll on the retail sector and its job market."

Meanwhile, chains are bracing for more tough times in 2009. Store closings could exceed 3,100 in just the first half of the year, and the number of potential closings could spike even higher when accounting for stores in both public and private sectors, according to the report.