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Possible mall mega-deal raises fears of higher rents (access required)

By Caitlin Coakley CHARLOTTE — With the possibility looming that two of the largest owners of U.S. shopping malls will join forces, the National Retail Federation is sounding the alarm that such a consolidation will have too much control over merchants’ mall rents. And that consolidation may affect one large Charlotte-area mall and another local mall that is not yet finished. The Simon Property Group Inc. of Indianapolis is reported to be trying to buy General Growth Properties, based in Chicago. “Just at the time when retailers are beginning to think about expansion again, this could potentially hurt that expansion and economic development,” said Scott Krugman, a spokesman for the National Retail Federation. “Anything that hurts competition is going to hurt economic growth.”

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