Two of the largest mall property owners in the United States has launched a late bid to keep the retailer afloat.A slew of bankruptcies has rocked the retail landscape of late, but one of the retailers that are facing financial ruin has just had a life preserver thrown in its direction. According to Fortune, a group of bidders that includes two of the largest mall property owners in the United States has launched a late bid to keep the retailer afloat.
The bid is noted as a ‘late going concern’ bid in the retailer’s federal bankruptcy court filing. The bidders, which include Simon Property Group and General Growth Properties, would keep the retailer alive, albeit with a much smaller footprint. At its peak, Aeropostale had 800 stores. Fast forward to today and the bid would see the retailer with only 229 stores.
No confirmation of the bid price has been revealed, but the Wall Street Journal has reported that the offer checks in at $243.3 million. Aeropostale filed for bankruptcy protection this past May. Once a bustling retail hotspot, the retailer has been impacted by changing consumer tastes and declining sales. Retailers such as Forever 21 and H&M have bypassed Aeropostale in the minds of shoppers, as evidenced by their larger foot traffic patterns.
In addition to the mall behemoths that are part of the bidding group, Authentic Brands, Hilco Merchant Resources and Gordon Brothers Retail Partners are on board. Simon and GGP are two of the troubled retailer’s largest landlords, while the other parties will likely bid on Aeropostale’s intellectual property and merchandise inventory if the bid proves unsuccessful.
For Simon and GGP, a lifeline bid for Aeropostale is a no-brainer. As the mall landscape continues to evolve across the nation, there have been far too many instances of a large amount of space opening up almost overnight. As opposed to finding itself in a lurch with more vacancies to fill, helping to save a struggling retail partner will help soften the blow, even if that retailer will be reducing its total footprint in terms of the number of operating stores.
Aeropostale is far from the only retailer to have filed for bankruptcy protection in recent times. American Apparel, Sports Authority, and Pacific Sunwear are a few of the other names on the list, which will unfortunately only get larger before the playing field levels out and returns to a sense of normalcy.
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8 SEPTEMBER 2016, USA