On the heels of major retail chains filing for bankruptcy this year, Simon Property Group’s chief executive says the retail industry appears to be “reaching the bottom” of a wave of bankruptcies. Shares in the company were down 3.5 percent on Wednesday afternoon (Oct. 30), with declines of roughly 12 percent during the year, CNBC reported.
David Simon told analysts, according to the outlet, “We are having a high bankruptcy year. ... There’s no denying that. But I think we’re kind of reaching the bottom in … 2019 on that stuff. It’s rivaling what happened in 2017. So, it’s not like something that we haven’t experienced before. But we know [what] we have to do.”
Simon’s comments come as U.S. retailers have announced 3,780 store openings and 8,993 store closures so far this year, in comparison with 3,258 openings and 5,844 closures in all of last year, per Coresight Research tracking. According to CNBC, “The consulting firm expects closures could still hit a record 12,000 by the end of this year.”
Simon also noted, “As we put together our plans for next year, I think we’ll be okay. We’re hustling. We’re finding new tenants.”
For the period that closed on Sept. 30, the company reported retailer sales per square foot were up 4.5 percent from a year ago to $680. Total occupancy was down from 95.5 percent a year ago to 94.7 percent.
In separate news, Simon Property Group recently announced it is teaming up with Rue Gilt Groupe to roll out a new website for the deal-conscious consumer. The Oct. 2 announcement comes as Simon has been increasingly looking into and piloting the ShopPremiumOutlets.com website since March, drawing on the dozens of premium domestic outlet shopping centers, along with a few offerings outside the U.S.
Simon Property Group also noted that it has signed with more than 2,000 designers and has roughly 300,000 products, although it doesn’t expect that this new offering will cannibalize its brick-and-mortar mall business.