The high dependence on apparel retailers and department stores “puts malls at particular risk of future tenant move-outs,” CoStar said. That’s because department stores and some other large retailers have historically been critical anchors at malls, generating foot traffic and luring other businesses to open shop, sometimes with co-tenancy clauses that allow them to break their leases if the anchor leaves. So as more anchors close, those tenants may abandon malls too.

At the same time, other retailers concentrated in malls such as Neiman Marcus and J.Crew, both of which have recently filed for bankruptcy, are also likely to close stores, CoStar group said. It will further hollow out malls.

Those stores that remain could see their visitors fall even further as shoppers avoid venturing into crowded indoor spaces if they don’t have to. Respondents to one small survey of more than 500 US consumers by First Insight, a retail advisory firm, ranked shopping malls and department stores as the retail spaces they felt least safe shopping in as stores reopen, for instance. They felt more secure in grocery stores, big box stores, drug store chains, and even small local businesses.

Less demand for mall space also means mall operators will probably have to lower rents, bringing in less income. CoStar forecasts mall rents will drop 12.5% in 2020 compared to last year.

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