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JULY 1, 2020

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As COVID-19 closes doors, what’s in store for retail?

by Kali Persall

The economic shock caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing lockdown has resulted in nationwide store closures, leaving investors to wonder if this novel coronavirus will be the impetus for the demise of traditional retail.

A host of well-known retailers, including J. C. Penney Co., J Crew Group and Nordstrom, already have filed for bankruptcy, or are on the brink of doing so. Lord & Taylor, the oldest department store in the United States, is facing mass liquidation only six years shy of its 200th birthday. Chains such as Dave & Buster’s Entertainment, H&M, Party City Holdco, and Gap Inc. have told landlords rent checks are not coming — at least for the next few months — and asset managers are feeling the pinch.

Brookfield Property Partners, a subsidiary of Brookfield Asset Management, reported April rent collections for its office and multifamily portfolios were, on average, greater than 90 percent, but retail portfolio collections were approxima

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