Dead Mall
Rolling Acres Mall in Ak Nicholas Eckhart

Retailers are closing thousands of stores following years of declines in sales and shopper traffic.

While the closures could cripple hundreds of shopping malls, many analysts believe that shrinking store footprints is necessary to restore health to many of today’s ailing retailers.

But according to one former retail executive, closing stores isn’t a path to profitability. Instead, it’s a warning signal that a retailer is in an irreversible death spiral.

In a column for Fortune, Steven Dennis, a former executive at Neiman Marcus and Sears, says “store closings are hardly the panacea that Wall Street seems to believe.”

“The notion that a brand can shrink its way to prosperity is typically horribly misguided,” he writes. “S how me a retailer that is closing a lot of stores and you’ve likely shown me a retailer that doesn’t have too many stores, but a…