Are We Just Rearranging The Deck Chairs? JC Penney Saved, For Now
Are we just rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic?
Reports today say that the two biggest mall owners in the country, Simon Property Group and Brookfield Property Partners, have a deal in place to buy JC Penney out of bankruptcy. The Detroit News says the move saves some 70,000 jobs, but after thinking about it, maybe it saves more than that, as JC Penney stores are anchors at many of the malls owned by the two companies buying JC Penney. If Penney's fails, then its not hard to think that losing yet another anchor could bring down an entire mall. Many malls have already seen plenty of Sears, Macys and other anchors go by the wayside. Macy's last week announced they'll be leaving many malls and reconfiguring as a stand alone store.
But this is more complicated than that. While a rumored acquisition of JC Penney by Amazon hasn't materialized, it seems like the two mall owners are hedging their bets as CNN reported, that the possibility of former and current JC Penney stores (and while Sears has emerged from their bankruptcy, they're still on the critical list.) and, for now, empty Sears stores, being repurposed into Amazon distribution centers. Amazon's thinking is, not only would it speed up delivery times, but also cut their carbon footprint. Plus, it might be cheaper moving into these existing structures rather than building new.
Or maybe with new owners might come some needed capital, and or new management. Not all brick and mortar retailers are struggling. But more than a few venerable ones appear to be going in the path of the dinosaur.
JC Penney filed for bankruptcy in mid-May after the global shutdown took away much of what remaining store traffic there was..