Retailers sign more short-term leases in a risky bet for mall owners


Shoppers walk through the King of Prussia mall in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania.

Jennah Moon | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Retailers and their landlords are engaged in a high-stakes game of risk right now. And it will be a few years until we find out which party is on the winning side.

As thousands of retail leases come up for renewal, their duration is increasingly shrinking, as businesses grapple with an unpredictable future and look for ways to slash costs, stay flexible and maintain leverage over their landlords, even after the health crisis abates.

The risk is a two-way street, though. Because on one hand, in two or three years, mall and shopping center owners could have the chance to turn…


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