A small number of Apple store will be forced to cut about six hours of weekly shopping from their schedule, after mall developer Westfield Group announced their 55 U.S. malls will now open later and close earlier six days a week. The change will affect only 15 Apple stores, or fewer than six percent of the total chain. It’s not clear how the change in hours might change the revenues at the affected stores. The cut-back was prompted by a decline in mall visitors and the sluggish U.S. economy, the company said. Ironically, Westfield spokesperson Katy Dickey said the company made the move to assist retailers with mounting expenses from lagging sales–something that has yet to afflict Apple’s stores. “What we’re hoping to do is help our retailers save, conserve resources and respond to changing consumer demand and traffic patterns,” Dickey said. Last month Westfield reported that revenues increased 10.4 percent for fiscal 2008, but noted that the United States segment grew just 0.5 percent, much less than the Australia-New Zealand operations. According to Westfield, effective immediately the malls will open 30 minutes later, and close 30 minutes earlier on Monday through Friday. Saturday hours will remain the same, but most malls will close one hour earlier on Sunday. Since most Apple stores are open about 75 hours a week, the cut-back represents just eight percent of their total operating hours. Officials of Macerich Co., which manages about 17 malls where Apple stores are located, said they are still studying visitor traffic patterns to determine if any actions are needed at their properties. There are 17 Apple stores among Macerich malls in the U.S.