Shoppers in the Sharon area have two big things to look forward to this year, reports the Hebrew weekly Yediot Hasharon. Two new shopping malls are currently being built, one in Hod Hasharon and the other in Kfar Saba, adding to the five malls already in existence in the area. But some people are questioning whether the Sharon region really needs so many shopping malls, and if an over-supply of malls may bring about the collapse of some of them. According to the report, shopping malls have sprouted like mushrooms around Israel since the mid-1990s. Those currently operating in the Sharon area include: Arim in Kfar Saba, which opened its old wing in 1994 and its new wing in 1999 and contains a total of 130 stores; Margalit (Azrieli) in Hod Hasharon, which opened in 1997 and has 70 stores; Renanim in Ra'anana, which opened in 1998 and has 180 stores; Shivat Hakohavim in Herzliya, which opened in 2000 and has 140 stores, and Arena in Herzliya, which opened in 2003 and has 145 stores. Now two new malls are being built: Sharonim in south-eastern Hod Hasharon, which will contain 125 stores, and Gazit Globe in eastern Kfar Saba, which will contain 130 stores. Dr. Shaked Gilboa, an investigator in the Ministry of Trade and Industry, said it would seem the area already has a "plentiful supply" of malls, not to mention that residents can always travel to malls in Tel Aviv or Netanya. She said the example of Rishon Lezion, nicknamed "Mall City," should be kept in mind. There, the introduction of too many malls led to "cannibalization," with many malls collapsing because they could not generate enough business. "In my opinion, the situation in the Sharon may come close to this," she said. Pe'er Nadir, the manager of the Azrieli group, agreed, saying that despite the growing population in the Sharon, five malls could not be justified. "I expect that â€¦ the over-supply will cause the weaker malls to fail," he said. But the manager of Tel Aviv's Gan Ha'ir mall and the head of the mall owners' committee, Dedi Riesel, said the new malls on the outskirts of Hod Hasharon and Kfar Saba would serve the needs of the surrounding populations and could succeed. Similarly, Arena mall manager Benny Halif said residents of the Sharon were financially comfortable and had "a developed consumer culture" that would welcome more malls.