LOS ANGELES -- As aftershocks continued to rattle Southern California Tuesday, local retailers began the arduous task of digging out, sweeping up, assessing damage and trying to determine when they might be able to reopen.

Some stores, such as those in the Northridge Fashion Center, might never reopen.

The collapsed Bullock's in Northridge was condemned Tuesday by city officials, who also were considering condemming the entire mall, which includes Robinsons-May, J.C. Penney and a parking structure that also crumbled in Monday's devastating earthquake.

Officials explained that hidden structural damage in other mall stores might lead to similar collapses, particularly if there are further aftershocks or smaller temblors. Most other major stores and shopping

centers were uncertain whether they would reopen today. Beverly Center and Westside Pavilion, two malls in west Los Angeles, were closed Tuesday to evaluate internal and structural damage.

One shopping complex, the Century City Shopping Center, also in west Los Angeles, was able to open Tuesday because its open-air design spared it from much damage. Because it was one of the few open, it reported strong business in its stores, restaurants and movie theaters.

J.C. Penney Co. said 13 of its 16 stores in the area were affected in some way, and that five units are closed indefinitely due to severe structural and water damage. A spokeswoman said the company's vice president of structural services and six teams of construction experts had been in the field since Monday afternoon, and were assessing damage.

The five Penney stores closed indefinitely are those in Santa Monica, Northridge, North Hollywood, Canoga Park and Granada Hills.

The spokeswoman did not have any estimates for rebuilding costs, lost business or merchandise.

The Penney's in Pasadena experienced minor damage, such as tiles falling from the ceiling, but was able to open by noon Monday, the spokeswoman said. She did not have a report on traffic. Others, like the Santa Clara store, were ready to open but awaiting the go-ahead from city inspectors.

Sears, Roebuck & Co. said seven of its 27 stores in the area were forced to close Monday and Tuesday.

The Sears units that sustained the most severe damage -- in Northridge and Glendale -- are closed indefinitely, said a spokesman. Damage estimates on structure and merchandise loss were still being tabulated Tuesday night.

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