Last month's retail sales numbers showed a decline of 6.7 percent. As the recession drags on, one American institution has been particularly hard hit? the mall. The economic downturn is emptying storefronts across America and is causing some owners to get creative, using mall space for new purposes: office space, water parks, classrooms. Joining The Takeaway is Rick Newman, Chief Business Correspondent, U. S. News & World Report and Mark Rowh, the vice-president for planning and advancement of New River Community College in Christiansburg, Virginia. His community college opened an outpost at the New River Valley Mall in 2007, which he says has driven up traffic and sales at the mall.

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