Despite bankruptcy, Chattanooga mall owner CBL says 'business as usual' at local malls; stock falls 40%

Staff photo by Mike Pare / About 80% of the retailers at Hamilton Place mall have reopened after closing during the coronavirus outbreak, according to mall operator CBL Properties.

Shopper Laura Pettit of Chattanooga said Monday as she was leaving Hamilton Place mall that she hadn't visited the retail center in eight months.

Pettit said she usually shops at thrift stores or goes online to Amazon, adding that "it's so convenient."

Mall owner CBL & Associates Properties Inc. on Monday announced it had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, battered by the coronavirus pandemic and the shift by many shoppers to online retailers.

CBL's stock fell more than 40% on Monday, closing at 8.94 cents per share on the New York Stock Exchange.

Still, the longtime Chattanooga-based company, one of the biggest mall operators in the country, said its centers will remain open and "business as usual" as it reworks is massive debt load in the bankruptcy court.

In Chattanooga, the company operates Hamilton Place and Northgate malls along with nearby shopping centers.