Joseph Pissani Associated Press
The owner of the East Town and West Town malls in Madison filed for bankruptcy protection on Monday after being infected with the COVID-19 corona virus, which forced their tenants to permanently close stores or pay rent.
As the bankruptcy protection process continues, the malls owned and operated by the Tennessee-based Sattanuka CBL will remain open.
The East Town and West Town malls were closed for almost two months in March following a stay order by government Tony Evers to close the doors of essential businesses as the corona virus spread in Wisconsin. Statewide restrictions were relaxed in May and eventually overturned by the state Supreme Court, but Dane County Health Department imposed capacity restrictions on businesses, including retailers.
CBL, which operates 107 malls across the country, said more than 30 of its tenants have filed for bankruptcy protection this year and will close stores including 100 men’s Taylor, Loft and other women’s clothing retailer Askena in CBL Malls.
Even before the virus, malls are struggling to attract shoppers who shop more and more online or elsewhere. But the epidemic forced many of them to close temporarily for several months. Mall tenants who rely on operators rent payments are also stressed. Some go bankrupt and close stores like the department store chain JC Penny.