The Durango Mall is working to fill its vacancies amid the worst retail environment in decades.
Linens 'n' Things recently closed as part of a chain-wide bankruptcy.
Corral West Ranchwear also is in bankruptcy, although the Durango outlet remains open at its space near Trans-Lux High Five Cinema while it liquidates its merchandise.
Nevertheless, the mall's leasing consultant says the nearly 300,000-square-foot retail venue is attracting strong interest from potential tenants.
"It's performing a lot better than the average mall across the country based on the economy," said Ken Garagiola, managing member of Century 4 Retail Advisors, based in New Jersey.
"I think our center certainly has good visibility and good access," he said.
The mall is considering adding a four-to-six unit food court, Garagiola said. Meanwhile, negotiations to fill the vacancies are under way. Garagiola said he is talking to about two dozen potential new tenants.
"That is a lot more space than we have to fill," he said.
Garagiola said he hopes to announce new tenants sometime in the next few months.
Simpler Times, a home décor business, recently closed. But it was a temporary tenant, and three or four potential tenants are looking at the space, Garagiola said.
In contrast, the national outlook for malls is poor, along with the entire retail category.
Failed retailers like Linens 'n' Things and Mervyn's have left many shopping mall owners with dark storefronts. Retail vacancy rates are forecast to climb to 11 percent this year, said Hessam Nadji, managing director at Marcus & Millichap. He also expects rents will decline between 4 and 6 percent as property owners contend with more tenant bankruptcies, store closures and fewer retailer expansions.
Retailers reported dismal sales results for December, a rash of stores have closed or filed for bankruptcy and the trend is expected to continue. ShopperTrak RCT Corp., which tracks sales and customer foot traffic at more than 50,000 stores, said Monday that it expects traffic to drop 16.4 percent and sales to fall 4 percent in the first quarter.
The Durango Mall, which opened in 1982, is anchored by a J.C. Penney store, Pier 1 Imports, Sears and Bealls, a new department store at the center of the mall. A Kmart closed in 2003.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.