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Opinion
Andrea Felsted

The Mall Can’t Survive If There Aren’t Any Stores

Coronavirus lockdowns have hastened a reckoning in the retail industry that leaves landlords little choice but to reduce rents and be more flexible.

Here’s hoping shoppers will return en masse.

Here’s hoping shoppers will return en masse.

Photographer: Oli Scharff/AFP via Getty Imgaes

Rent collection day last Wednesday looked like a disaster for mall landlords in the U.K. Reeling from the coronavirus lockdown, tenants including JD Sports Fashions Plc, Boots drugstores and Primark withheld some payments pending negotiations with landlords. Estimates vary widely as to how much was paid of the 2.5 billion pounds ($3.1 billion) due — from 10% to 50%.

This isn’t just bad news for Lakeside mall-owner Intu Properties Plc, which on Friday collapsed into administration. Missing rents affect everyone, including property developers Hammerson Plc and British Land Co.