When The Mall Owns The Retailer

Bankruptcy court has emerged as a shopping mecca of sorts for Sparc Group, which, after successfully bidding on a series of retailers in Chapter 11, is now the “operating partner” for Aeropostale, Forever 21, Lucky Brand and Brooks Brothers, and is a rumored suitor of J.C. Penney. The venture says it supports “over $2.7 billion in global retail sales annually.” “Sparc Group” isn’t a typical retail enterprise, but, rather, half mall developer Simon Property Group, half brand conglomerate Authentic Brands Group — an entity designed to, as Simon CEO David Simon told analysts earlier this month, capitalize “on various value-creating opportunities.” He downplayed the venture as requiring minimal investment with several advantages (including acquiring inventory “at or below cost,” and assets like intellectual property “at attractive values”), such that Sparc expects any acquisition to reap dividends within a year. Simon also described the activity as taking advantage of each partner’s particular strengths. Read more at Retail Dive.