Macerich Co. said it bought the South Plains Mall in Lubbock, Texas, for $115.7 million in cash and assumed debt, continuing a string of acquisitions by one of the largest mall owners in the U.S. The 1.11-million-square-foot mall is the only one within 120 miles and generates about $300 in annual sales per square foot, or about 50% more than the industry average. Macerich would pay $86.3 million in cash and assume $29.4 million of debt from a partnership called South Plains Mall Associates Ltd. Santa Monica-based Macerich has bought more than $1.2 billion worth of shopping mall properties since the start of 1997. The mall industry is undergoing a wave of consolidation as larger mall companies rush to get bigger in a bid to cut costs and gain more leverage over retailers in negotiating leases. Macerich now owns or has a stake in 43 shopping centers, with 34 million square feet of space across the country. Shares rose 13 cents to close at $27.38 on the NYSE.
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