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Mall Wars In Wake, Durham Counties Heating Up

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Local shopping trends show malls in Wake County will have to bring out the big guns.

The holiday shopping rush has not begun, but with two big new malls and several new shopping centers in the Triangle, local shoppers will have a lot to choose from. With a slow economy, retailers hope for a change.

"Hopefully, we're seeing, or we're going to see in the next several weeks, a trend that people are going to spend some of those dollars that we think they've been holding back," said Christy Alston, of Crabtree Valley Mall.

Reports from the state Department of Revenue show shoppers spending big bucks in Durham County with Wake County falling behind.

Comparing last year's July figures to this July, gross retail sales are up 25 percent in Durham County. Gross sales in Wake County are down 1 percent.

Officials claim The Streets At SouthPoint in Durham is pulling money from a wide region.

"They have a regional tenant mix. You've got tenants at Southpoint that are in Boston," said Brian Reece, of the Karnes Research Company.

Officials believe the big sales jump in Durham may be misleading.

"Right there on I-40, you're drawing from Charlotte, Greensboro for Nordstrom's," Reece said.

Crabtree Valley Mall, The Streets At Soutpoint, Triangle Town Center and Cary Towne Center are all about the same size, but shoppers say they want a big selection of stores.

Officials said it is hard to know what the holiday buying season will mean to retailers, but shoppers seem to want to be able to spend money close to home.

"The convenience of getting to a place without the traffic jams and the people is really why I go," shopper Amparo Higgins said.