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Professor: Malls need to reinvent themselves to survive

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ROANOKE (WSLS 10) - A lot of changes are happening at our local malls.

As we told you last month, Tanglewood Mall is up for sale and earlier this year, Liberty University bought a stake of River Ridge Mall.

Suit City has been at Tanglewood Mall since 2001, and the owner said he's been through all the ups and downs, business is still good.

"I've seen lots of change," said Sonu Lalchandani, Suit City manager. "When we came here in 2001, it was packed but now people are leaving."

The Village of Martinsville, previously Liberty Fair Mall, was redeveloped into an open concept.

Michael Enz, an economics professor at Roanoke College, said malls won't go away, but in order to thrive they have to reinvent themselves and make people want to visit them.

"We've seen an increase in outlet malls. They're specializing in reduced priced goods and taking a look at brand name items in their stores," explained Enz.

Enz said open-concept malls, like Towers Shopping Cente, where people can access stores from the outside, are getting more popular for convenience and cost.

'One the main drawbacks of an enclosed mall is that there are so many spaces that have to be heated and those are additional costs," continued Enz.