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The judge who presided over JCPenney's and Neiman Marcus' bankruptcies predicts more filings by the middle of 2021 as postponed rent payments come due and debt piles up

The judge who presided over JCPenney's and Neiman Marcus' bankruptcies predicts more filings by the middle of 2021 as postponed rent payments come due and debt piles up

More than 12,200 stores were slated to close in 2020, according to CoStar Group.
OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP




The year 2020 was a difficult one for retail, and 2021 isn't looking much better.




David Jones, the judge who presided over the bankruptcy cases of JCPenney and Neiman Marcus, said he expects real estate investment trusts, or REITs, to struggle in the new year.




Many mall operators have not collected full rent amounts from their tenants during the pandemic.




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The year 2020 was a grim one for retail. As of December 17, 51 retail companies had filed for bankruptcy, the highest total for a single year since 2009, according to S&P Global. With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to ravage the US, industry experts aren't expecting retailers' struggles to end anytime soon. Government-mandated shutdowns loom across multiple states as cases rise across the country. And even once the pandemic subsides, it may take some time for consumers to feel comfortable returning to shopping in-person.As the Chief United States Bankruptcy Judge for the Southern District of Texas, David Jones has presided over a number of marquee cases in the last several months, including the restructuring of JCPenney and Neiman Marcus.
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