America’s biggest mall owner is seeing green.
Soon after posting a record fourth quarter, Simon Property Group announced on Monday that it would be partnering with cannabis firm Green Growth Brands to open 108 shops in its malls this year. The shops will sell products infused with the cannabis extract cannabidiol, also known as CBD, according to CBNBC.
“The GGB shopping experience is exactly the type of innovation our customers want and expect from us,” Simon Malls president John Rulli said.
The first GGB shop will open in March at Castleton Square Mall in Indianapolis, the companies said, with others opening later this year. Simon’s headquarters is also located in Indianapolis.
Other shopping centers that will host the stores include the Roosevelt Field Mall on Long Island and The Galleria in Houston
CBD, which was mostly legalized in December when President Trump signed the 2018 Farm Bill, has been touted as a wonder-drug that delivers the calming effects of marijuana without the high. Restaurants in New York City have been selling CBD-infused products for months, though the New York Department of Health began cracking down on the practice last week. The FDA still prohibits CBD from being added to foods and drinks.
Thanks to the partnership, GGB will also be opening more shops under its “Seventh Sense” brand, which provides CBD-infused body care products.
Simon Property Group owns more than 200 retail properties nationwide, with about a dozen in the New York metropolitan area. The partnership with GGB will help the REIT fill storefronts recently vacated by major brands such as Gymboree and Sears.
Columbus, Ohio-based GGB has been looking to expand its business in other ways as well, recently pursuing an unsolicited takeover of Canadian cannabis company Aphria, according to Marijuana Business Daily. Though Aphria’s board rejected a hostile bid last week, GGB says it intends to continue its efforts to acquire the company.
Simon posted a 25-percent jump in net income in the fourth quarter to $712.8 million. Competitor Macerich, meanwhile, saw net income in the fourth quarter plunge 64 percent from a year earlier to $11.7 million. [CNBC] — Kevin Sun