So far this year, 16 percent of all retail industry loans are delinquent, according to statistics tracked by the data firm Trepp. Major retailers, including J.C. Penney, Neiman Marcus and Modell’s Sporting Goods, have filed for bankruptcy, and new tenant demand for mall space has never been weaker, according to an analysis of national malls by the advisory firm Green Street. The closure of anchor stores only exacerbated the financial duress, given that, as Green Street noted in a recent mall survey, their departure can allow other tenants to reduce the rent they pay. Some landlords have opted to hand ownership of their struggling malls back to their lenders, making distressed sales of those investments very likely.
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