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A mall owner is buying Forever 21 because it doesn’t want more vacant storefronts

FastCompany, Michael Grothaus, Feb 3, 2020

If you’ve stepped into a mall recently you might find it not too surprising that malls are dying. There’s plenty of blame to go around for that too: Amazon, the changing shopping habits of internet-savvy consumers, and major brick-and-mortar retailers offering free shipping—just to name a few.

That’s why it’s no surprise that mall owners are taking rather drastic steps to keep retailers from leaving. Matter of fact, popular fashion chain—and mall stalwart—Forever 21 just reached an agreement to sell its beleaguered business for $81 million. The buyers? A group that includes Simon Property Group, Brookfield Property Partners and Authentic Brands, reports CNBC. Simon Property Group and Brookfield Property Partners are large owners of malls.

In other words, the two groups are buying their former tenant, in part at least, to keep that tenant in their malls. The groups’ fear is that if a large, popular chain like Forever 21 leaves those malls, overall foot traffic to those malls will drop, resulting in lower sales for all stores—and potentially more of those stores shuttering.

Simply put: Simon Property Group and Brookfield Property Partners buying Forever 21 is an attempt to stop more of their malls from becoming ghost towns. Simon Property Group’s malls have more than 100 Forever 21 stores in them alone.

This isn’t the first time Simon and Brookfield have bought a struggling retailer to keep their malls from becoming vacant, CNBC notes.

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