Annual report pursuant to Section 13 and 15(d)

COVID-19 Pandemic

COVID-19 Pandemic
12 Months Ended
Dec. 31, 2022
Risks and Uncertainties [Abstract]  
COVID-19 Pandemic COVID-19 Pandemic
The current novel COVID-19 pandemic (“COVID-19”) has had, and will continue to have, repercussions across local, national and global economies and financial markets. Our financial results for 2020 were materially adversely impacted by COVID-19 as described below. During 2021 and 2022, our business and financial results improved, and metrics such as average overall occupancy rates, traffic to our centers, sales reported by our tenants, and collections of rental revenues returned to near, at, or in some cases above, pre-pandemic levels. Nevertheless, the full extent of the adverse impact on, among other things, our results of operations, liquidity (including our ability to access capital markets), the possibility of future impairments of long-lived assets or our investments in unconsolidated joint ventures, our compliance with debt covenants, our ability to collect rent under our existing leases, our ability to renew and re-lease our leased space, the outlook for the retail environment, bankruptcies and potential further bankruptcies or other store closings and our ability to develop, acquire, dispose or lease properties for our portfolio, is unknown and will depend on future developments, which are highly uncertain and cannot be predicted. Our results of operations, liquidity and cash flows have been and may continue to be in the future materially affected.

During 2020, although our outlet centers remained open, retailers began closing their stores in our outlet centers in mid-March and by April 6, 2020, substantially all of the stores in our portfolio were closed as a result of mandates by order of local and state authorities. By June 15, 2020, in store shopping for non-essential retail was allowed in every market in which our centers are located.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a number of our tenants requested rent deferrals, rent abatements or other types of rent relief during this pandemic. As a response, in late March 2020, we offered all tenants in our consolidated portfolio the option to defer 100% of April and May rents interest free, payable in equal installments due in January and February of 2021. Through December 31, 2022, the Company had collected 99% of the 2020 deferred rents.

During the year ended December 31, 2020, as a direct result of the pandemic, bankruptcies and restructurings, the Company's earnings were negatively impacted by approximately $47.3 million due to (1) write-offs related to bankruptcies and other uncollectible accounts due to financial weakness, (2) one-time concessions in exchange for landlord-favorable amendments to lease structure, (3) reserves for a portion of deferred and under negotiation billings that we expect to become uncollectible in future periods, (4) and write-offs of straight-line rents associated with the bankruptcies and uncollectible accounts.
Included in the negative impact discussed above, for the year ended December 31, 2020, we recorded a $5.3 million reserve for a portion of deferred and under negotiation billings that were expected to become uncollectible in future periods and recognized a write-off of revenue of approximately $7.2 million of straight-line rents associated with the tenant bankruptcies and uncollectible accounts. However, as of December 31, 2021, contractual fixed rents billed during 2020 that were deferred as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic and remain outstanding totaled $82,000. Through December 31, 2022, the Company had collected 99% of the 2020 deferred rents due to be repaid during the years ended December 31, 2021 and December 31, 2022. As a result we reversed $2.7 million in reserves related to deferred rents in 2021. During 2022, results included the reversal of revenue reserves of approximately $4.1 million compared to approximately $1.2 million of net reserves recorded in 2021.The extent of future tenant requests for rent relief and the impact on our results of operations and cash flows is uncertain and cannot be predicted at this time. If store closures were to occur again in our domestic markets, this could have a material adverse impact on our financial position and results of operations.

In March 2020, to increase liquidity, preserve financial flexibility and help meet our obligations for a sustained period of time, we drew down substantially all of the available capacity under our $600.0 million unsecured lines of credit. Beginning in June 2020 through August 2020, we repaid the entire $599.8 million outstanding balance bringing the outstanding balance to zero as of December 31, 2020.

During 2020, we took steps to reduce cash outflows, including the reduction or deferral of certain operating costs, temporary base salary reductions for our named executive officers and other employees, and the reduction of certain general and administrative expenses. In addition, we also temporarily deferred our Nashville pre-development-stage project and certain other planned capital expenditures. We paid the dividend that was declared in January 2020 as scheduled on May 15, 2020, but in May 2020 the Company’s Board of Directors temporarily suspended dividend distributions to conserve approximately $35.0 million in cash per quarter and preserve our balance sheet strength and flexibility. During 2021, we resumed pre-development activities on the Nashville project and other planned capital expenditures. We also reinstated the dividend in January 2021 and paid dividends on a quarterly basis for the year ended December 31, 2021. We continued to pay dividends on a quarterly basis for the year ended December 31, 2022, including a combined 20% increase in our quarterly dividend during 2022.