Business

Plunging Mall Traffic is Killing Some Restaurants and Stores

[CBS Sports]

A customer looks at pizzas at Sbarro restaurant in San Jose, Calif. (Paul Sakuma/AP Photo)
A customer looks at pizzas at Sbarro restaurant in San Jose, Calif. (Paul Sakuma/AP Photo)

Shopping malls are slowly turning into ghost towns, and that’s taking a toll on the stores and restaurants inside of them.

Nowhere is this more apparent than in the mall food court. Several fast-food chains that were once a primary source of sustenance for bored teens are crumbling, unable to stay in business as shoppers spend their money elsewhere.
The latest victim is Sbarro, the pizza and pasta chain that was a staple at mall food courts. The company could file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection as early as next week, The Wall Street Journal reported late Wednesday, citing sources familiar with the matter.

In mid-February, the company announced it would be closing 155 of its 400 North American stores, most of which are located in malls and airports. The company is buckling under $140 million in debt.

Also struggling is Hot Dog on a Stick, an employee-owned chain with locations primarily in the West and Midwest, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last month. The company says that expensive mall leases were the main reason its business is failing, according to news reports.

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