Somewhere in suburbia, a shopping mall stands empty, spookily devoid of the retailers and bustling foot traffic that marked the golden era of the mammoth-sized mall. Photos of such centers, now gutted and grim, have become visual evidence of a fact-of-retail: The mall is dead. But, that’s not quite the case.

“The malls that are anchored by bad department stores, that are failing, really are dead,” said Ken Morris, principal at Boston Retail Partners. “There will be fewer malls — that’s a fact. But what’s interesting is what’s happening to the good malls. They’re evolving and, frankly, they’re packed.”

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