Department stores may be struggling to draw customers, but they haven’t relinquished their hold on America’s malls. The aging retail juggernauts are exploiting contracts with landlords that give them the power to dictate how a property can be developed, covering everything from parking to signage to what types of operators are allowed into a center.
Known as reciprocal easement agreements, or REAs, the contracts were
put in place decades ago, when landlords relied on department stores to
lure suburban shoppers. A majority of malls in the U.S. are encumbered
by an REA, tying developers’ hands as they try to keep up with rapid shifts in retailing, according to Ryan Rivera, a partner at law firm Hartman Simons & Wood LLP.. . . more