At least two more national chains, hampered by ongoing retail woes and the effects of the coronavirus, are the latest to announce they are closing their stores at Mayfaire Town Center on Military Cutoff Road.
At the same time, Mayfaire Town Center owner CBL & Associates Properties Inc. is preparing to file for bankruptcy, according to a report recently published by Bloomberg.
Tennessee-based CBL owns more than 100 shopping centers nationwide. Reached Monday afternoon, company officials had no comment on the bankruptcy report.
Broker Hansen Matthews, partner in Wilmington-based commercial real estate firm Maus, Warwick, Matthews & Co., is not affiliated with CBL & Associates Properties, but said in general, the bankruptcy of a shopping center owner doesn't mean the end of a center.
“You're not going to see anything change in the day-to-day operation of Mayfaire, certainly nothing in the beginning," Matthews said of the potential bankruptcy, "and I think it would take a long time to play out in any noticeable way to the customers or for that matter to the tenants.”
But pending store closures have been noticeable.
New York & Company’s window at 6869 Main St. in Mayfaire Town Center on Monday advertised a store closing sale. The women’s clothing retailer is owned by RTW Retailwinds Inc., which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on July 13.
Sheamus Toal, CEO and CFO of RTW Retailwinds Inc., stated in a news release, “The combined effects of a challenging retail environment coupled with the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic have caused significant financial distress on our business, and we expect it to continue to do so in the future.”
Children’s clothing store Justice is closing its locations at Mayfaire Town Center and Independence Mall in Wilmington, according to its website. Justice’s parent company, ascena retail group inc., is working through its own Chapter 11 bankruptcy, which was filed July 23.
Another of ascena retail group’s brands, Loft, opened a Mayfaire Town Center location last year.
There was no indication Monday that the other ascena brand stores at Mayfaire Town Center, including Lane Bryant, Loft and Ann Taylor, are closing.
New York & Company will be leaving about 5,000 square feet at Mayfaire, while Justice’s Mayfaire space is nearly 4,000 square feet, according to leasing materials.
Pier 1 Imports, which is going out of business, started advertising its closing sales earlier this summer at its Mayfaire Town Center and Hanover Center locations.
On the Border, a restaurant at Mayfaire Community Center, has already closed permanently. CBL manages the community center, which is adjacent to Mayfaire Town Center.
A CBL representative stated in an email Monday afternoon that the company is exploring a variety of options for the On the Border space and other vacancies coming to Mayfaire, "but it’s too early to announce anything."
The retail news isn't all bad, according to some local commercial real estate brokers.
"If people [who own small businesses] were getting close to retirement or if a business was already struggling, it's an excuse for them to go ahead and close up shop," said Cody Cress, of the Cress Group of Coldwell Banker Commercial Sun Coast Partners, regarding the effects of the coronavirus.
But, he added, "there are many companies out there that are very positive and optimistic, and they're adapting in this environment. Their revenue might not be as high but their profitability is there. They're cutting down overhead or cutting down staff or reducing inventory, and they're still able to be as profitable as they were before and sometimes even more profitable with less income."
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