This isn't a new problem.
I have a pretty extensive collection of various news clippings that I've collected over the past couple years, mostly focusing on Akron area malls.
This article from The Ashtabula Town Beacon in 2007 is the early call: malls are dying. Most of the malls in this article have turned into Amazon fulfillment centers. Ashtabula Mall is owned by the same company who owns Akron's very dead Chapel Hill Mall, and is very much dead. Millcreek is the only mall that I think is still doing ok.
"Hopefully there won't come a time when we buy everything either online or at Wal-Mart" makes me wonder if the writer of this is still around. I'd love to hear what he thinks now.
COVID has kicked the collapse of the American shopping mall into high gear, but this has been happening for years now. We're seeing the American dream die in real time, both literally (the American Dream Mall is the most cursed mall in America), and figuratively (hi, I haven't been out of my house a whole lot since March).
Also: I would kill to see that Rolling Acres Myspace page...