U.S. mall owners see Sears' bankruptcy as "tragic," dumping millions of square feet of empty real estate on a market already marked by store closures and staggering vacancy rates.
Still, the "ultimate, unfortunate demise" of Sears came as no surprise to Simon Property Group, the largest mall owner in North America, according to CEO David Simon. It's been planning for it for some time — talking to up-and-coming retailers and hotel companies as possible replacements, as well as disposing under-performing assets, Simon told analysts on a conference call Thursday. The real estate investment trust, which operates more than 100 malls globally, is putting Sears "in the rear-view mirror," he said. . . . more