In a sure sign of the recession's impact, a huge mall owner has filed for bankruptcy. General Growth Properties filed for Chapter 11 protection in what the Wall Street Journal is calling "one of the largest real-estate failures in U.S. history." General Growth is the nation's second-largest mall operator, behind Simon, and owns 200 malls including Boston's Faneuil Hall.
The bankruptcy filing is not supposed to affect mall operations or sales. But it could have an impact on consumer confidence, and shoppers may shy away from General Growth's malls, leading to a latent sales decline at the stores within them. The bankruptcy proceedings could take years due to the size of the company's holdings.