Twenty-three percent of U.S. malls compete directly with lifestyle centers, according to Friedman Billings Ramsey research. The firm expects that figure to reach 30 percent by 2006. Taubman Centers and The Rouse Co. are the two mall REITs most affected…Gymboree is launching a new concept called Janeville that will sell casual clothes, work clothes and accessories for suburban moms. Ten stores will open in suburban malls this year, averaging 3,000 square feet each…New York's long-established shopping district for musical instruments, 48th Street, is in trouble now that Westlake Village, Calif.-based retailer Guitar Center's first Manhattan store is going gangbusters. The 30,000-square-foot flagship is located downtown on West 14th Street in Greenwich Village and offers a broader selection of instruments. Two music stores on 48th Street have shut down, and the district's top retailer, Sam Ash, is losing guitar, amplifier and percussion sales to Guitar Center, despite a recent remodel to stay competitive, says Blaylock & Partners analyst Ryan Casey. Guitar Center opened the Manhattan location, which accounts for about 2 percent of the 141-store chain's revenues, in November…Charles Aug is shopping his New York-based brokerage firm Garrick-Aug Associates around to potential buyers. So what's to become of powerhouse Faith Hope Consolo (right), vice-chairman and front-woman of the firm's Worldwide division? Consolo herself would neither confirm nor deny reports that Garrick-Aug is on the block. “I'm in the eye of the storm here. There's been so many variations on this story,” she says. But a source close to the negotiations says Consolo and her team would not be a part of the deal. Several real estate companies have been scoping out Consolo, the source said, adding that he thought she would rather join a major local or national firm than go out on her own…West Coast consumers aren't responding as well to Yankee Candle Co.'s homespun New England-style merchandise as East Coast suburbanites. So the South Deerfield, Mass.-based retailer, which plans to maintain its current store growth rate of 45 per year, will likely announce a newer, hipper retail candle concept in coming months. The new concept could grow to as many as 300 stores by 2011, if tests go well, says JP Morgan analyst Brian Tunick…Even after seven years of double-digit comparable store sales growth, Chico's is still pulling at least five new customers into every store every day of the year, according to research from Craig-Hallum Capital Group…Pressured by the ongoing squeeze on their margins, grocery store anchors have begun demanding exclusivity clauses in their leases that keep dollar stores out of their shopping centers…The Related Cos. and Brookfield Properties are competing to manage the 600,000 square feet of retail space to be included in the rebuilt World Trade Center in Manhattan, according to Crain's New York Business…U.S. athletic specialty retailers are finding their highest productivity stores to be those located along the Mexico/U.S. border. Almost no high-end Nike footwear products are sold in Mexico because of the government's 1,000 percent duty on importing Chinese-manufactured footwear. So Mexican shoppers frequent stores selling Nike in the Texas border towns of Brownsville, Laredo, McAllen and also in San Diego…Next year may be the first time since 1999 that JCPenney opens more department stores than it closes. Initial sales at the retailer's three freestanding prototypes — designed to compete with rival Kohl's — have been excellent. The Plano, Texas-based company could open as many as 12 of these stores, accounting for the majority of the 15-20 stores it plans to launch next year, says A.G. Edwards analyst Robert Buchanan.