For most shopping centers, a busy parking lot means busy stores. At Cheltenham Square Mall, on the other hand, the well-trod blacktop masks a big problem within.
"There's, like, nothing in there," Kayla Smith-Campbell said Tuesday, glancing across the parking lot where a DSW shoe store closed last month, leaving only a sun-bleached outline of its old marquee.
Inside the 1950s-era mall, more than half of the five dozen stores are shuttered. Those that remain sometimes go entire days without seeing a sale, several clerks said. Of the handful of visitors in the mall at midday Tuesday, half said they were there for the air-conditioning or taking a shortcut to the Target store on the other side.