Mall developers take a hit from the worsening economy and plummeting consumer spending, according to Women’s Wear Daily. Mall vacancy rates are up nearly 10 percent in the first quarter in comparison to the 9 percent for all of 2008. This marks the biggest single quarter jump since 1999. Several chains, including CVS, Modell’s Urban Outfitters and Pier 1 are seeking rent reductions between 5 and 25 percent. However, with less rental income, developers such as General Growth U.S. are on the brink of bankruptcy.-LB