Mall developer Simon Property Group thinks struggling and recently bankrupt teen apparel chain Aéropostale could bounce back in a major way and potentially double its store fleet.
The group – which bought Aéropostale – has kept 500 of Aeropostale’s 700 stores open, 200 more than first thought, after discovering those locations were in the black, Sandler O’Neill + Partners’ analyst Alexander Goldfarb wrote in a recent research report.
Simon Properties, General Growth Properties and licensor Authentic Brands Group – along with liquidators Hilco and Gordon Brothers – bought Aéropostale for $243 million.
The latter two paid $188 million for inventory, while the mall operators and ABG paid $55 million — of which Simon contributed $33 million, according to Goldfarb.
to a report in The New York Post, Simon Properties and GGP were the landlords of 230 stores, and another 270 stores were located in other malls.
Simon Properties recently also shot down a rumor that mall owners were buying Aéropostale stores to try and reduce the risk of rising vacancies in their properties.
It’s been six months since Aéropostale filed for Chapter 11 and few expected the teen retailer to avoid complete liquidation of its 720 US stores, an outcome that its lead lender, private-equity firm Sycamore Partners, was gunning for.