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Corporate Mall Owner Reports Sales Have Returned To Pre-Pandemic Rates

Already struggling malls were hit hard during 2020.

Simon Property Group says sales at its malls and outlet centers have returned to their pre-pandemic levels.

Simon Property is the largest mall owner in the United States. Its stock has risen over 48% each year to date and the company has a market capitalization of $41.5 billion.

Chief Executive David Simon told analysts Monday that retail sales at its properties in June were comparable to June 2019 levels, and up 80% from a year earlier, reports CNBC

Simon also said the company will continue to encourage masks, but they will not be mandating vaccines for shoppers and tenants.

Retailers are predicting a continued spike in sales as offices and schools reopen. In addition to increased spending, the industry expects products to cost more. A National Retail Federation (NRF) survey found that total back-to-school spending in 2021 is projected to reach $37.1 billion — an all-time high. Supply-chain congestion and widespread shortages will drive up the costs of products. 

Katherine Cullen, NRF’s Senior Director of Industry and Consumer Insights, told that retailers are planning to fly products in instead of shipping them, which is more expensive. Consequently, companies will likely have to pass the cost on to consumers.

In 2020, Coresight Research predicted that 25,000 stores would close during the pandemic and 55% to 60% of those closures would occur in American malls.

“As shopping malls lose their anchor stores, buyers have even less reason to go there,” noted CCN. Chains like Neiman Marcus, J.Crew, Stage Stores, Tuesday Morning, and JCPenney filed for bankruptcy last year.

Some experts credit the pandemic with the resurgence of the mall as the retail space adjusts to meet the desires of shoppers. In many ways, popular malls resemble traditional downtowns. Axios reports that ”one of the fastest-growing types of mall tenants is doctors’ and dentists’ offices.” Additionally, some malls are adding local businesses to make themselves tourist destinations as opposed to chain centers. 

“We continue to see demand for space across our portfolio, from healthy local, regional and national tenants, entrepreneurs, restaurateurs, and mixed-use demand … it’s increasing day by day,” David Simon said.

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