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Express to close about 100 stores by 2022; 4 REITs list retailer as top tenant

Four publicly traded equity real estate investment trusts in the U.S. report Express Inc. as a top tenant in their quarterly filings. The apparel and accessories retailer recently laid out its plan to close approximately 100 stores by 2022.

While an individual list of stores has not been publicly released, Express noted that nine of the stores have already closed in 2019, 31 are expected to be closed by the end of January 2020, while an additional 35 are slated for closure by the end of January 2021.

As of Sept. 30, 2019, Pennsylvania REIT held 16 leases with Express, aggregating 2.1% of the mall REIT's total annual gross rent, the highest exposure of any public equity REIT.

Brookfield Property REIT Inc. and Tanger Factory Outlet Centers Inc. each collect roughly 1.5% of their annual base rent from leases with Express.

CBL Properties had 39 leases with the apparel retailer on Sept. 30, 2019, totaling 1.3% of its annualized revenue.

Sales at Express' brick-and-mortar locations have dropped in recent years. Excluding e-commerce sales, the retailer's same-store sales dropped 9% in its 2018 fiscal year, which ended Feb. 2, 2019, while same-store sales in its 2017 and 2016 fiscal years fell 10% and 12%, respectively.

The apparel retailer's 2019 fiscal year has thus far followed a similar trend, with same-store sales, including e-commerce sales, down 5% for the 13 weeks ended Nov. 2, 2019. Similarly, same-store sales for its first and second fiscal quarter were down 7% and 6%, respectively.

As of Nov. 2, 2019, Express operated 411 primarily mall-based retail stores as well as 215 factory outlet stores. The retailer's fourth-quarter and full year 2019 results are scheduled to be released during the week of March 9, 2020.

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