Malls are making a rebound

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - It's something we're seeing here for the first time since the 1980's - department stores anchored to malls are actually gaining market share over the off-mall retailers.

People are coming back to the malls, and it's happening for a couple of reasons.

"Well, my mother was recently unemployed. She had lost her job because of the economy, and now that she's working, we're doing better," explained one shopper today. "We almost lost our house and everything, but everything is better now. We can actually go into the mall and buy stuff."

Northlake Mall Manager Phil Morosco says the attitude of people coming into his mall has significantly shifted for the first time since the Great Recession ended, just look at all these bags.

"I think it absolutely has a lot to do with it," Morosco says. "Stores are becoming much better at value, because that's what the customer is looking for. At the same time, with the stock market going up and consumer confidence at a three year high, I think that's a clear indication that people feel comfortable."

"I feel safe with my money, and where I'm at right now," another shopper told us today.

The confidence does indeed seem to be rubbing off on retailers.

"National retailers are expressing more interest in expanding again, where they used to be very cautious," Morosco says. "We're seeing them come back, and we've already signed three for the spring. I suspect we'll see more later this fall."

Revenue at Macy's was up to $25 billion for 2010, up 6.5% from the year before. And at Northlake, retailers are noting those numbers and rolling the dice again. Aerie is a new venture from American Eagle, and it will open soon, several other stores are slated to follow.