2 Mall Owners in Bid to Save Bon-Ton From Closing its Stores
U.S. mall owners Washington Prime Group and Namdar Realty Group will bid together to save department store chain Bon-Ton from liquidation, according to court documents filed Monday that were reviewed by CNBC. Alternative asset manager DW Partners will also be working with them. It was reported last week that the two landlords would attempt to acquire the embattled retailer out of bankruptcy. Bon-Ton, which operates other mall-based chains including Carson's, Younkers and Herberger's, is a tenant of Washington Prime's and Namdar's properties. Earlier this month, Bon-Ton received approval from its lenders to extend the deadline for submitting qualified bids, and an auction is now set for April 16.
Total Retail's Take: Fearing more vacancies at its properties, Washington Prime Group and Namdar Realty Group are taking matters into their own hands and putting in a bid to acquire Bon-Ton's stores. The mall owners have a vested interest in making sure Bon-Ton's stores remain open. With mall traffic on the decline and retail store vacancies on the rise, mall owners are fighting to save their businesses. There is a precedent for mall owners joining together to save a retailer from closing its stores. In 2016, Simon and GGP bid approximately $240 million to keep Aeropostale from liquidating its stores. Malls are trying to reinvent themselves to become more than just shopping centers, but make no mistake that the primary draw is still going to be stores. Washington Prime Group and Namdar Realty Group's bid for Bon-Ton speaks to that truth.