CBL, Shopping Mall Operator, Files for Bankruptcy Protection

CBL & Associates Properties files for Chapter 11, becoming the latest mall operator looking to restructure as the Covid-19 pandemic slams brick-and-mortar retail.
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Shopping mall operator CBL & Associates Properties  (CBL) - Get Report filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, becoming the latest mall operator seeking to restructure its operations as the Covid-19 pandemic slams the brick-and-mortar retail sector.

CBL filed for bankruptcy protection with the U.S. bankruptcy court for the Southern District of Texas on Sunday. The Chattanooga, Tenn.-based real estate investment trust listed both estimated assets and liabilities in the range $1 billion to $10 billion.

CBL had announced in August that it had entered into a restructuring agreement with a group of its bondholders to allow it to regroup on its debts and beef up its balance sheet amid the pandemic, which shuttered malls outright for much of the spring and has continued to keep shoppers wary of physically entering closed spaces to shop.

However, CBL and other mall operators have continued to struggle as retailers that prior to the pandemic relied on shoppers flocking to malls to buy clothing, accessories and other goods have themselves shuttered their doors. 

J.C. Penney, one of CBL's biggest renters, earlier this year filed for Chapter 11 protection. Other well-known brands that have stores in CBL malls include Victoria's Secret and Bath & Body Works, both owned by L Brands  (LB) - Get Report, as well as Signet Jewelers  (SIG) - Get Report and Foot Locker  (FL) - Get Report.

CBL is structured as a real estate investment trust that invests in shopping centers, primarily in the southeastern and midwestern U.S. Shares of CBL were trading at 15 cents in trading on Monday. The stock has fallen 55% since late March.