The spread of malls has hurt shops and restaurants in other areas.
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The severe economic slowdown and the fierce competition from the sprawling malls have dealt a blow to most stores and businesses across Lebanon, heads of merchant associations said Thursday.Closed restaurants and stores in Hamra, Mar Elias and Downtown Beirut have become a familiar site to all pedestrians.Even the boutique stores and restaurants in these streets often struggle to find one customer a day.One merchant on Hamra Street said the rents in malls are way too high for most average traders.Gemayel stressed that over 500 stores and restaurants closed permanently in Mount Lebanon alone over the past two years.Gemayel believes that most of the unlicensed businesses and stores are run by Syrian refugees.
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