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U.S. malls are closing because there are too many of them

In October, Sears Canada said it is closing. This store is in Toronto. (Photo: Rene Johnston / Toronto Star via Getty Images)

The painful truth about the retail bloodletting is that it's been a long time coming. Since about 2003, when they went on a construction tear, American builders have lived by the Field of Dreams rule: build it and customers will come. Now, there are way too many stores, and way too much space devoted to them: Credit Suisse says a quarter of American malls — up to 275 of them — will shut over the next five years; CoStar, the real estate research firm, tells Axios that the excess is more like 150.

Quick take: "What we are seeing going on is Darwinism at play," says CoStar's Ryan McCullough. "We believe that all these closures will have a healthy impact on the industry, but there will be a disruptive process till we get there."