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Registers are ringing

Despite their reputation as cookie-cutter properties that have proliferated throughout the suburbs, one thing is for sure: Not all malls are created equal.

Instead, as the obituaries pile in for dead or dying malls across the country, there's another set of properties that are not only surviving but thriving, sending their asking rents and sales per square foot higher.

This divide is becoming even more pronounced as online shopping broadens its reach, and retailers recognize they no longer need to have a physical store in every market.

"[Retailers] want to be in the best place, and they'll pay almost any rent to be there," said Andrew Nelson, Colliers International's chief economist for the U.S. "If the sales are not there, they don't care what the rent is."

The preeminent centers didn't become industry leaders by accident. In addition to curating their tenant mix with in-demand brands, several of the properties are undergoing face lifts to retain their place at the top of the market.

To see a list of the top 10 most productive malls, according to estimates by Green Street Advisors real estate research firm, click ahead.

Read MoreDoubling down on the future of the American shopping mall

—By CNBC's Krystina Gustafson
Published 8 June 2015

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