Washington Prime Group, owner of more than 100 malls in the U.S., filed for bankruptcy on Sunday, citing "significant challenges" brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
As CNN reported, the company filed for Chapter 11, calling the move "necessary." The mall owner secured more than $100 million in new funding in order to maintain its day-to-day operations and "continue in the ordinary course without interruption."
Two other mall owners — CBL Properties and PREIT — filed for bankruptcy last year, citing similar issues as Washington Prime Group.
"The company's financial restructuring will enable Washington Prime to right size its balance sheet and position the company for success going forward," CEO Lou Conforti reportedly said. "During the financial restructuring, we will continue to work toward maximizing the value of our assets and our operating infrastructure."
Temporary closings and relaxed rent were the main causes of the bankruptcy, according to the company.
Washington Prime Group stated it would use its Chapter 11 filing to "implement a comprehensive and consensual financial restructuring" to relieve its almost $1 billion in debt.
Even before the pandemic, in-person retail shopping had steadily been declining as consumers shifted to online shopping. CNN noted that a recent analysis from UBS Investment Bank predicted that roughly 80,000 stores will close over the next five years as stores continue to shut down after the pandemic ends.