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Retail sales rise at CBL malls

Reports of the death of the regional enclosed mall are greatly exaggerated, according to a report from one of the nation’s largest owners of such properties.

Chattanooga-based CBL Properties — which fields 96 malls from Bismarck to Laredo and Myrtle Beach to Mexicali — reported that in-line tenants across its portfolio posted average sales gains of 5.6% in January and February. That’s well above the 3.8% to 4.4% rise predicted by the National Retail Federation.

“Sales at CBL properties were bolstered by excellent performance at our border properties, cold weather in the south that drove winter merchandise sales, and a healthy increase in the jewelry category,” said CBL president and CEO Stephen Lebovitz.

CBL, which like many mall owners has been filling empty department store boxes with dining and entertainment options, also instituted a new marketing strategy that highlights key retailers to build traffic.

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