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The continued presence of Covid-19 is highlighting a reality that not everyone wants to admit: Rental deferments are no solution to the massive challenges in retail real estate.

I have a front-row seat on this: My firm has spoken with more than 100 retail and restaurant companies since the virus hit. In some cases, we’re merely listening to them and acting as a sounding board; in others, we’re formally advising them on strategy and/or executing their lease-restructuring plans. Despite all the pre-pandemic talk of a “retail apocalypse,” many of these once-healthy chains have never been in a distressed situation. And yet today, you can argue that a gigantic restructuring process is the “new normal” for much of the industry.

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