Pandemic Prompts CBL & Associates to Seek Bankruptcy Protection

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The pandemic and ongoing lack of foot traffic at shopping malls that house brick-and-mortar retail stores has prompted CBL & Associates Properties  (CBL) - Get CBL & Associates Properties, Inc. Report to seek chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

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 weary from 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 (JCP) - Get Report, 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.

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