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Sep 22, 2020

Brookfield Properties to cut 20% of employees in retail unit

Pedestrians walk through Brookfield Place shopping center in New York, U.S., on Wednesday, June 10, 2020. New York City, which experienced the biggest and deadliest Covid-19 outbreak in the country, began reopening on June 8. Photographer: Sarah Blesener/Bloomberg

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Brookfield Property Partners LP, a large owner of malls in the U.S., is cutting its workforce as the pandemic batters the retail industry.

The job cuts will hit approximately 20 per cent of the employees in the real estate company’s retail arm, according to a memo to staff on Monday. The unit has more than than 2,000 workers, according to a spokeswoman, who declined to comment beyond the memo.

Brookfield bet big on retail in the U.S. with its purchase of mall owner GGP Inc. for about US$15 billion in 2018. Since then, pressure has been mounting across the industry, with the pandemic pushing even more customers to embrace the convenience of e-commerce.

The firm’s shares have dropped about 40 per cent this year. In May, Brookfield Asset Management Inc., the parent company of Brookfield Property Partners, announced a plan to invest US$5 billion to take minority stakes in retailers that have been hit hard by the pandemic.

The job cuts were reported earlier by CNBC.