CHICAGO, Feb. 28 (UPI) -- More U.S. shopping malls are lowing thermostats and cutting store hours as they try to ride out the recession, industry managers say.
"Just like any business, we're trying to look at some of the extra costs that we can do without this year," said Lindsey Burke, marketing director for Yorktown Center in Illinois.
Beginning Sunday, the Westfield Group is cutting shopping hours at all five of its Illinois malls by opening 30 minutes later and closing 30 minutes earlier.
Other malls are turning down the heat, delaying when escalators turn on, changing to more energy-efficient light bulbs and making plans to cut back on water for outside plants this summer, the Chicago Tribune reported Saturday.
Other measures include cutting back on holiday decorations and using green plants instead of more costly flowers, the Tribune said, noting U.S. gross domestic product dropped at a 6.2 percent annual rate in the fourth quarter of last year -- more than the initial estimate.