The New York Times reports on vacant malls across the American landscape. Thanks to declining retailers:

The result is near-record vacancy rates at malls of all kinds, both the big enclosed ones and the sprawling strips. Sears Holdings is closing up to 120 stores, Gap Inc. 200 stores and Talbots 110. Abercrombie & Fitch closed 50 stores last year, Hot Topic, almost the same number. Chains that have filed for bankruptcy in recent years, like Blockbuster, Anchor Blue, Circuit City and Borders, have left hundreds of stores lying vacant in malls across the country.

The political side of this is that these malls were cash cows for state and local governments and now that revenue is drying up. It’s not just that people are buying less stuff, it’s also that a lot of it has moved online, so the stakes are very high for governments seeking to tax internet sales.