LAS VEGAS — As large parcels of land suitable for new malls become scarce, and as retail continues to be tumultuous with vacancies rising at a higher rate than leases get signed, the nation’s shopping center industry grapples with how and where to grow.

The angst was evident at the International Council of Shopping Centers spring convention here May 18-21, where a total of 30,848 mall developers, retailers, brokers, public officials and financing executives weighed their next moves, as they do each year at the huge annual event. Blighted downtown communities, the overstored suburbs, overseas opportunities, lifestyle centers and other emerging formats, were all debated.

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