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Mall Stocks Surge with Shoppers Coming Back Faster Than Expected

At North Carolina centers owned by Tanger traffic was at 80 percent of pre-pandemic levels.

(Bloomberg)—Shoppers in South Carolina are ready to go.

With retailers now allowed to reopen, customers traffic is back to 80% of pre-pandemic levels at properties in the state that are owned by Tanger Factory Outlet Centers Inc., according to Chief Executive Officer Steven Tanger.

The company’s properties are open-air and offer reduced prices, two important factors as the U.S. emerges from lockdown and grapples with the economic disruption from social-distancing guidelines.

“In good times, people like a bargain,” Tanger said. “In tough times like these, people need a bargain.”

The comments came at a virtual conference organized by the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts. Other shopping center executives also indicated that shoppers are coming back quickly, giving a boost to mall stocks that have been battered since the economy shut down.

The outbreak pushed more shoppers toward the convenience of of e-commerce, but Americans who have been stuck at home for weeks are showing a willingness to get out and shop. That’s fueling optimism about a recovery for consumer spending at brick-and-mortar stores.

Tanger jumped as much as 12% to $7.49, hitting the highest intraday level since April 30. Simon Property Group, a major owner of U.S. malls, also surged on Wednesday. Simon spiked 15%, rising to highest level since April 9.

Retail landlords have struggled to collect rent from shuttered stores. In March, Tanger allowed tenants to defer April and May payments until after the Christmas shopping season.

To contact the reporter on this story: John Gittelsohn in Los Angeles at [email protected].

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Craig Giammona at [email protected]

Rob Urban, Christine Maurus

© 2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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