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Simon CEO expresses concern about retail bankruptcies

The CEO of the nation’s largest mall operator is “nervous” about potential looming bankruptcies.

"There are some retailers out there that we're nervous about," David Simon, CEO of Simon Property Group said during the company’s earnings call with analysts, reported CNBC. "We are concerned about a few [retail bankruptcies] that should shake out in the first quarter."

On the positive side, Simon said he doesn't expect there will be as many retail bankruptcies this year as there were in 2018 and 2017. And COO Rick Sokolov told analysts that the company was having success in bringing such online brands as Untuckit and Warby Parker to Simon properties.

For the fourth quarter, Simon reported retailer sales per square foot of $661, an increase of 5.3%, for the trailing 12-months ended December 31, 2018. Occupancy was 95.9%, compared to 95.6% as of last year.

“I think we've never been busier on the alternative uses," Simon told analysts, according to the report.

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