Another Sad Day for Retail: Boscov’s Flails for Life; Dawahare’s Shutting For Good, Trouble for Goody’s and Bob’s

Whoa. just when we thought it couldn’t get much worse than Mervyn’s, one regional chain is throwing in the towel and three others are struggling badly. The big news, surrounding northeastern department store Boscov’s, is fresh from this morning:

About half the major suppliers to Boscov’s, a family-held Reading, Pa.-based department store with stores across the mid-Atlantic, have halted merchandise shipments for lack of payments, The New York Post reported Friday, citing unnamed sources.

PlainVanillaShell has more, reporting that the 97-year-old, family-owned chain is nearing collapse. Boscov’s has stores stretching from Virginia to New York, with the bulk of their locations in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
Dawahare's Logo

Meanwhile, Dawahare’s, a small, storied retailer with stores in Kentucky and West Virginia, announced this week that they will shut all of their 31 stores, many of them located in small Appalachian cities and towns hit hard by a poor economy.

Goody’s, a Tennessee-based retailer of family clothing with locations primarily in the southeast, has also filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and is closing 69 of their 355 stores.

bob's stores logo

And last but not least, long-troubled Bob’s Stores, a Connecticut-based chain of mid-priced casual clothing stores owned by TJX, has been put on the market. TJX acquired them in 2003 when the original, independent Bob’s Stores chain went bankrupt, but has been unable to turn them arond.

135 Responses to “Another Sad Day for Retail: Boscov’s Flails for Life; Dawahare’s Shutting For Good, Trouble for Goody’s and Bob’s”

  1. Oh, no. Not Boscov’s. You were a great mid-range store replacing anchors!



  2. Can’t say I’m surprised, considering most of the chain’s recent growth has involved taking over anchor slots in ailing malls outside its traditional sphere of influence.


  3. I have yet to see Trans World Entertainment (FYE / Suncoast) mentioned yet. Should that happen in the coming weeks, it will hardly be suprising.

    You’d think in this economic climate, the whole swath of entertainment-related retail would be all but wiped out, except for Best Buy. People don’t have the kind of money those chains ask for CDs / DVDs.

    It’s too bad what is happening to Boscov’s. Overexpansion into dying / dead malls didn’t help one bit, that’s for sure.

    Dawahare’s and Goody’s are all-clothing retailers, and their stores are quite small. They mainly serve more rural areas and small cities. We used to have similar chains like this…..Spurgeon’s, Stage, among them. All have since gone under over the years.


  4. With this news and the possible closing of Boscov’s…I think it’s now time for a remerchandising at Monmouth Mall…that is the perfect spotf for Bloomindales!!!


  5. Boscov’s storefront there looks pretty nice and I like the big B logo!


  6. Buying all those stinker Macy’s stores pretty much did Boscov’s in. The idea was nice, but many of the malls were quite dead and Boscov’s was a new name without a big reputation in those markets. Throw in the crappy economy and you’ve got a disaster waiting to happen.

    I hope they don’t close my local store specifically and I hope they don’t shut down entirely. I like Boscov’s a lot. They’re a little hokey sometimes, but there’s never a shortage of interesting merchandise. That’s more than I can say for just about every other retailer in their price range.

    Dawahare’s and Goody’s I won’t miss as much, but they often are the only department stores in their markets, and offer at least a slice of mainstream retail to places that seemingly have none beyond Wal-Mart.


  7. Well that stinks about Dawahares- that was as “family owned” as a clothing store can become.

    Is Belk going to be the only mainstream family owned retail store left?


  8. This is sad news for Boscov’s, if they do indeed die, that will create a huge loss in many NJ and PA malls.

    Also, This picture is from the Nanuet Mall’s former Boscov’s:

    It might be more fitting in the header here.

    A depressing picture, especially since that was one of the rarer Boscov’s facades.


  9. The loss of Bob’s would be a tough one…they have a large selection of skate shoes and I’ve gotten most of mine there. I can’t speak for the women’s department but going through the guys’ stuff at their stores is a bit…unfulfilling at times. There’s licensed sports, athletics, work gear and young men’s stuff, but the gaps between those segments aren’t filled in any meaningful manner, whereas places like Kohl’s do carry that stuff. It’s a shame, though.


  10. Like an old lady with botox, we’re supposed to be surprised that this happened?
    predictable to be honest.


  11. Just judging by the logo, Bob’s Stores looks like a place where I could accessorize my Hammer pants with a dayglo fanny pack or two.


  12. I’m am so unbelievably depressed about Boscov’s that I can hardly put it into words. When the story about Mervyn’s was posted a few days ago, my thoughts were exactly “I hope that Boscov’s is not next.” Actually, I first suspected that Boscov’s was in trouble when their Nanuet Mall store closed: it just didn’t make any sense, since Boscov’s has many of its stores in dead malls (some of which are deader than Nanuet Mall).

    In the event a miracle happens, and Boscov’s survives, I fear that the “new” Boscov’s will lack all of the departments that make the chain so unique: electronics, large appliances, candy, sporting goods, furniture, and toys. Also, I’m guessing that the ten or so stores that will immediately be closed are going to be among the following: White Marsh Mall, Owings Mills Mall, Marley Station, Beaver Valley Mall, Monroeville Mall, South Hills Village, downtown Binghampton, and possibly Colonie Center. Basically, Boscov’s locations will be limited to its core markets of Eastern PA and Southern NJ. (Because of this, I don’t think that locations at Lehigh Valley Mall, Oxford Valley Mall, Montgomery Mall, and Deptford Mall will be among the first stores to close, despite the fact that they were acquired from Macy’s. Also, as a side note, the planned Boscov’s location at Willow Grove Park Mall has yet to open. Obviously, that location will never open.)

    All of the terrible times these smaller chains are finding themselves in spell very bad news for the customer, because pretty soon the only department stores left–that the oridinary American can afford to shop at–will be Sears, JCPenney, Macy’s, Macy’s, Macy’s, Macy’s, and Macy’s. (While the luxury department stores will also still be around–as they are the most recession proof–nobody I know can afford their ripoff prices.) This brings me to my concluding remark: Macy’s is the one retailer that I would absolutely love to see bite the dust. Honestly, I don’t care if half the malls in the country are closed as a result: I just want that damn chain gone, and I would celebrate immensely upon hearing of its demise. (Sadly, Macy’s will probably be around forever.)


  13. What “I” fear most is for those folks in smaller cities. Think of it. These towns which had maybe, circa 1980…..a large discount store (or two), a variety store, many more choices of apparel, gifts, specialty….all wrapped up in a strip or even several strips flagged by a small to mid-sized enclosed mall of a dozen to 60 speciality stores…… This keeps up they’ll have Wal-Mart…..and that’s it!

    On Macys, you forget that Wal-Mart is just AS bad if not worse, right up there with ’em People will have little to no choices in their areas anymore…..think of it….a mall or power center anchored by Wally-World and Macys…..makes me shudder to even conjure up such a shopping center in my mind

    Just so things don’t spin off topic and into heated debates, let’s remember, these chains are not going out only because of competition. I’m sure all these guys had their loyal followers. They’re out because people are scaling back on ANY ‘unessentials’ in life.

    This only makes me hope more and more that Bon-Ton isn’t in trouble. They run the whole Carson’s/Younker’s/Boston Store/etc conglomerate up here, HQ’ed in Milwaukee. They’re below Macy’s, but above Penney’s, and for many towns here in WI, they’re the ‘high end’ department store. People around here haven’t really warmed up to Macy’s…..heck, some still haven’t gotten over losing Prange’s yet. We lose them, we will lose all but the super-regional malls in this state….which said malls will have a darkened anchor pad. (Would give me a lot more malls worthy for this site to write up and do photo shoots for though, but I’d really dislike doing that).

    Gotta remember, not everyone shops online. Some people still don’t trust it, and I don’t blame them, what with all the idiots out there who want to rip off peoples’ identities and stuff.

    We’re in the thick of the back-to-school shopping season….supposedly the 2nd busiest part of the retail year, right behind the Thanksgiving/Christmas period. Things are already looking bleak for the small apparel stores.

    While the dead malls / dead retail sites will have much more to blog about or host (Trust me, we’re going to see a swath of malls literally bite the big one), it would really be bad for the consumer if they are left with little to no choice in where they can go locally.

    Maybe in the end, this is just a really bad period that NEEDS to happen. We’re in a major ‘down’ period after reaching a pinnacle in the late-1990s / early 2000s. When you think of it, it’s sort of been a long time in coming. It will serve as a wake-up call to any existing retailers & shopping center REITs, along with new ones just up-starting through this violatle period. That way when the dust finally settles down and we see an uptick in the economy down the road, it’ll be more healthy than it has been the past few years.


  14. Will the last person in downtown Binghamton turn out the lights. Boscovs has been the anchor of the city for the last 25 years. Without it, there will be nothing to go to. Also, with Goody’s closing, another nail is placed in the coffin of Tallahassee Mall. What’s next Sports Authority or Dick’s?


  15. I hate to hear of Boscov’s troubles and hope they survive. I heard they were one of the last department stores to carry a full line of merchandise along the lines of the old style downtown department stores. In this current envrionment, I doubt Boscov”s lines of toys, sporting goods, and furniture are priced competitively with the big box and discount chains of the newer markets they entered, and if they are they’ve been taking a loss to generate sales.

    The Boscov’s logo is truly one of a kind, scripted rather than in a modern font, without being a throwback. If the Nanuet Mall store is any indication, the appearance would be reason enough to have checked out the store. Unfortunately, I’ve never been in a Boscov’s, the closest one would be in Danville, VA, still some distance from North Georgia, and it is far flung from the rest of Boscov’s core market, which likely means its days are numbered even if Boscov’s survives.

    Goody’s is another failing/flailing retailer with whom I do have some familiarity. Currently, they are hq’d in Knoxville, a little more than two hours away, and originated in Athens, TN, about an hours drive from my home. I recalll the downtown stores in the small cities scattered about the region, most of which closed during the 80’s as the chain moved to larger stores in shopping centers and smaller malls. They had been in the downtown of my hometown until moving to a small strip store in 1979, and in 1988 relocated to the former JCPenney store acrross the street after it had sat vacant a few years after moving to Walnut Square Mall. Goody’s eventually made its way to Walnut Square, using the unbuilt 5th anchor pad for its location, obstensibly a never-built Miller’s department store, around 1992 where it still operates and has presumably been skipped by the closings. The three Chattanooga locations are closing-Northgate in a former Hill’s, Eastgate, not exactly the former Miller’s/Hess’ and the newest location near Hamilton Place. The Hamilton Place store got a WTF reaction when it was built as it is in a center with Target and the first area Kohl’s. The Goody’s in the Chatt suburb of Ft. Oglethorpe, GA is staying open for now. Goody’s occupies a segment which has seen many other similar retailers come and go-Marshall’s and Upton’s are area examples I can think of and Dawahare’s seems to be a similar store in the upper mid-south that is seeing the same fate.


  16. I find it hilarious, that a lot of people hate Macy’s. Sure, they took over your precious treasured may-company stores, but despite all that most people didn’t shop a lot there previously. It’s like complaining when a dollar store becomes a big lots. Sure, not as cheap, but you never fueled money into the store, so why complain about it? (besides memories of you letting it sit there & rot ) I’m sure Macy’s regrets taking over (some) parts of may company, (ex: closing some stores), however you are right about them being around for awhile. They are a strong company, just like walmart, and will do everything to remain in that position for quite some time. As for the “family’ retailers, and smaller companies, it’s predictable to see them fall. They do not have access to research, & expand there market, therefore they depend on what they currently have, and that would be a poor economy. As for fearing certain anchors, we shouldn’t exactly be afraid of them. Think of it, would you rather have a dead mall, or a healthy mall with anchors? Things that thrive usually put forth more into a mall/shopping center. In short, we can only blame ourselves for these issues. Without support from your community, you cannot hold on to treasures for very long.


  17. I personally have no hate towards Macy’s. They’re out of my price range, and took over various chains that already went through several decades of ownership changes anyhow. Daytons and Fields namely. Those nameplates didn’t have any attatchment here in WI, not like the H.C. Prange Co. (including its two largest divisions….discounter Prange Way and regional mall retailer id Boutique), and Gimbels’ Milwaukee division also had a strong following, Boston Store close behind.


  18. Well, I find Macy’s to be distinctively a step below Carson’s. Macy’s coming to town and replacing the well-esteemed local store was as if a high-end boutique was bought out by a dollar store, had the merchandise changed over to the dollar store junk, and retained the boutique’s higher prices. It’s a sick joke, IMHO.

    It’s only a matter of time until Macy’s leaves the Midwest due to a lack of sales brought on by their own attitude and crummy merchandise. Thank goodness for Von Maur, Nordstrom, and the resurgent Lord & Taylor.


  19. Well said, Brandon! It is just one huge myth–spread by Lundgren and his cronies–that Macy’s was/is a step above all the other mid-priced alternatives (whether it be the stores that comprised the former May Company, Boscov’s, Belk, Dillard’s, or The Bon-Ton and its affiliates).

    With all due respect, Jeremy, you just repeated another myth spread by Lundgren: that nobody chose to shop at the former May Company stores back when they existed (and, therefore, they needed to be “saved” by Macy’s). In actuality, the fact that same store sales in those former May locations fell considerably during 2007 is proof that people did shop at Marshall Field’s, Filene’s, Hecht’s, etc., and that those stores are very much missed. (And, also remember that the May Company was consistently making profits, as opposed to being a money losing venture.)

    While I certainly respect the opinion held by Matt from WI, I could not disagree more: I strongly feel that Macy’s is far worse than Wal-Mart. While Wal-Mart has done many bad things, they at least offered something truly unique–that being the lowest prices anywhere–which caused so many of its competitors to go out of business. Unlike Wal-Mart, Macy’s never was able to put its rivals out of business as the result of free market competition; instead, all that happened was that Macy’s was acquired by Federated, which then proceeded to rename all of its regional namplates to the more well known Macy’s banner, and–after that happened–swallowed up the May Company and discarded their nameplates.

    As a final thought, can you imagine how good things would currently be if Macy’s went out of business as a result of their early-1990’s bankruptcy? I’d be willing to bet the bank that virtually all of the regional nameplates that comprised Federated and May would still be around today.


  20. I recently left Boscov’s after working there for several years at one of their stores. Although the news of their financial problems has saddened me, it really came as no surprise. As someone who has seen things from “the inside” for the past few years, I have watched the company slowly slide into murky waters.

    As others have noted, the acquisiton of 10 former Macy’s locations a few years ago was, in a way, the beginning of the end. At the time those locations were purchased, the word inside the company was that the future of the chain largely hinged upon the success of those locations. Alas, while some of those stores (mainly the Pittsburgh-area locations) have done quite well, many of them have not been performing up to par. This, coupled with the general economic downturn, really put a crunch on the company.

    In the final few months before my departure, their desperation to cut costs and save money was evident in many ways, including significant cuts in the number of hours allotted for scheduling/staffing. Merchandise shipments also dropped off noticeably; normally, full truckloads would come at least four days a week in the past, but more recently, these were cut down to three, and sometimes only two days per week. Naturally, fewer employees around to wait on customers led to more dissatisfaction among customers, which didn’t help things. Also, misguided promotions like the aforementioned stimulus check-cashing deal didn’t help, as the company severely underestimated demand and paid out way too much money in such a short period of time.

    As mentioned before, the Willow Grove location is most likely not doing to open. There is also a store under construction in Hanover, PA; the exterior of the store is basically complete, as is some of the interior, but otherwise it is sitting empty. This location was originally slated to open in time for Christmas in 2007; this was later pushed back to spring 2008, and now it has been pushed back to spring 2009. The company simply can’t afford to finish, stock, and staff the new locations.

    Based on what I have observed in my time there, I would be almost certain that the locations in Binghamton, NY; Harrisburg, PA (Harrisburg Mall location); Owings Mills, MD; and Danville, VA will be closed. Those four locations have been chronic underperformers. I also wouldn’t be surprised if the other two locations remaining in New York (Albany and Clifton Park) close as well. If Boscov’s survives the hard times, I expect that we will see it pull back from expansion and focus on its core locales – Pennsylvania and New Jersey, with some stores remaining in Delaware and Maryland. However, please note that this is merely conjecture on my part.


  21. Yes, I do realize that some people did shop there, but the point was that some didn’t, and they complain that may company stores left. May Company, didn’t need to be “saved”, it was all in the matter of buy out. What I am trying to convey is that Macy’s does help certain areas of America with their position there. Now, I am not saying that it is the best store in the world, I’m just saying that they made some errors, but everyone deserves a second chance. I would much rather shop at Nordstrom, due to their great customer service, however there are very few locations. Sometimes it can be positive to have a wide range of locations, sometimes not. My example for bad locations would be where there were two may company stores in one area. Sorry if I am creating some loose ends, but I am trying to say is that some business is better than no business.


  22. I don’t wish for Macy’s to go dead in the 1990s. I wish what they could’ve done is spun off all the brands (like Lord & Taylor) and spread them to various companies. Then each goes on a separate path.


  23. Jeremy, I completely understand your point, even if I happen to disagree with it. I sincerely apologize if I have offended you in any way.

    Mr. X, if you are still reading this, I have a few questions for you: First, just out of curiousity, how well does Boscov’s treat its employees (or, how well were they treated when times were better)? Also, you mentioned that the Pittsburgh area locations are doing quite well, while the Owings Mills Mall store is underperforming. Would you happen to know how well the new stores at White Marsh Mall and Marley Station are doing? And, what about the new Philadelphia area stores at Deptford Mall, Lehigh Valley Mall (which really is not that close to Philadelphia), Montgomery Mall, and Oxford Valley Mall? Finally, I was wondering if the Nanuet Mall location did poorly, because I have read on the internet that that store’s closure was primarily due to the result of being forced out of the mall (by Simon) as opposed to poor store performance.

    Any insights to these questions would be greatly appreciated.


  24. I’m still here, don’t worry. Long time lurker, first time poster, if you will. I find dead malls and retail history to be fascinating.

    From what I was told, years ago, Boscov’s treated their employees very well – company Christmas parties, widespread bonuses, and company picnic and trip to Dorney Park in Allentown, PA each summer, fully paid for including admissions, food and beverages, and charter bussing from each store for employees and their families. However, as the store expanded and stretched itself too thin, these perks began to disappear. By the time I came on board, everything but bonuses was dependent on what the staff at each store wanted to do with the money they had set aside in a sort of “sunshine fund”. Bonuses used to be distributed to all employees regardless of tenure, but for the most recent calendar year, they restricted bonuses to employees with several year’s tenure. The amount of the bonuses also decreased over time as well. However, I can’t say it was totally unexpected, as the money available to disburse bonuses is dependent on the store’s performance.

    I personally never felt like I was “mistreated” per se, but I did deal with incompetent, detached management and corporate stuffed shirts. Actually, interaction with corporate was minimal unless you were in management – when the “head honchos” would come and tour the stores, you better not dare speak to them…oh my. But I digress. Poor management is definitely my biggest gripe. Not on a department level, but largely on the store level, although I recognize that a lot of their directives come from corporate. We were under a constant barrage of cost-cutting and chronic understaffing, yet were expected to do more and more, all while management denied that we were understaffed. As an example of what I routinely dealt with in my last few months working there – the group of departments I worked in had four registers, and ideally on a shift you had anywhere from 4-6 employees. However, I spent many evenings and weekends on shifts with just 2 people staffing a huge area of the store, running from end to end and barely keeping up with the flow of customers, much less any of my other work. By and large, the company never gave me any reason to motivate myself to come to work on any given day. I stuck it out as long as I did primarily for two reasons – flexible scheduling, which was essential while I was in college; and because I liked the people I worked with in my department.

    Anyhow, while I do not entirely know how well each store is performing, I can provide a little bit of insight based on some of the data I had access to – primarily, sales figures and totals, with respect to the other stores in the chain.

    As previously stated, Owings Mills is badly underperforming – by far the worst performing of the 10 new locations from a few years back. The store was just a poor fit for the area and has had major staffing issues since day one. White Marsh was doing fairly well, probably the best of the three new Baltimore-area locations. Marley Station was doing okay to the best of my knowledge as well. I really don’t have a lot of knowledge about the Philly locations; as far as I know they are pretty much average. I had heard rumblings about Deptford not doing so well, though. And from what I knew, Nanuet was actually doing okay. It is commonly said that Simon basically “forced” Boscov’s from the mall, although from what I had heard, the company had been approached about continuing to operate in Nanuet after the redevelopment. However, the offer was declined, and if you ask me, it was a convenient way for Boscov’s to close a location and save a few dollars without raising too many eyebrows.


  25. Well, Boscov’s is a tight situation: pull out of underperforming places, but I see Boscov’s…if surviving, a shadow of its former self. It may either go to a discount store or a more upscale (with less departments) store. Either way, it’s DOOMED.


  26. Boscov took a big bite with acquiring 10 former Macy’s/May department stores and entered markets in which the name was not a well known entity. I suspect most Philadelphia shoppers have the same perception of Boscov’s as Atlanta shoppers have for Belk-a small town department store that grandma shops at.

    It’s no surprise that Boscov’s would do well in Pittsburgh with Federated not being highly successful in transforming Horne’s to Lazarus and finally to Macy’s and then Kaufman’s becoming Macy’s after the Federated/May merger. Horne’s had declined considerably under DeBarto and Dillard’s ownership prior to Dillard’s selling the chain to Federated, Hornes had been part of Lord & Taylor’s parent company, Associated Dry Goods, which had merged with May who already owned Kaufman’s.

    I brought up the aside about Dillard’s ownership of Horne’s, because it is actually the “Dillard’s model” that Federated followed with the rebranding of its regional chains to Macy’s. Dillard’s became the department store darling of Wall Street due to its centralized buying and merchandising and a singular banner. Of course today Dillard’s hasn’t regained its profitibility of the high growth years of the late 80’s to mid 90’s. Federated, like May, was already consolidating regional banners, in some areas the local names had remained while back office functions were combined, in others, the local name had changed. May replaced Sibley’s, Strouss’ and May of Ohio with the Kaufman’s banner and consolidated Kaufman’s with Boston based Filene’s, keeping the two banners and Federated had replaced Shillito’s, Block’s, Rike’s and Horners with Lazarus while Rich’s, Lazarus and Goldsmith’s had been combined into one division, as two examples.

    For good or bad, Federated had yielded to Wall Street demands to make the company more efficient and reduce advertising costs of multiple brands. May was moving along the same track, only a few years behind the pace of Federated. In the end, Federated had the money to buy out May, had the opposite occured, May would have likely settled on having Macy’s for most of the country, Marshall Fields for the upper midwest, and Lord & Taylor instead of Bloomingdale’s as the high end department store.
    Only the Marshall Fields name would have survived. Keep in mind a large number of May’s people made the transition to Federated/Macy’s and the two chains weren’t really all that different.


  27. t hope that boscov survives we need choices in this country not less and as for goodys and dawahares small towns need something for chice also now i know that i work for walmart but i dont wont to ware only ther clothing i like name brands
    also remember chaprte 11 dose not mean the end some of the chanins oyt ther including macys and carsons have all done a round in bankrupcy and came out stronger may be bon ton will buy boscovs but honistly i feel that the east cost and west cost econimy is wthe worst right now and when things change a little beople will hit the stores malls and big boxes agin. but bepreparied its going to be a rocky holiday


  28. To the person who mentioned Trans World Entertainment(parent of FYE/Suncoast/etc.) above, I’d hardly be surprised if they’re next to file for bankruptcy. They’ve already slowly been closing stores here and there for the past few years, and just recently closed their store at Golf Mill Mall(in Niles, IL) earlier this year.

    I really hope the news of Boscov’s being in trouble doesn’t mean that Von Maur is the next family-owned chain to file for bankruptcy and/or close stores. However, at least unlike Boscov’s, they don’t operate an excessive number of stores, and haven’t gone on an expansion phase the way Boscov’s has done in recent years, so maybe they’ll be safe for now. *crossing my fingers*


  29. Plain Vanilla Shell reported that Boscov’s is closing 10 stores, not the entire chain. They also have an article about Linens N Things, and they are only closing 57 stores not the 120 they expected to close. Sandwiched in between these 2 articles on the homepage is a story that Target opened 43 stores on July 27. That is a lot of stores on one day, and a good sign that there are still some retailers who are still running a successful business. Who knows, maybe Boscov’s will not go away forever and will just emerge as a smaller chain.


  30. Boscov’s doesn’t entirely surprise me. They really have grown too rapidly in a segment that has been sluggish for years.

    Altho Federated has screwed-up Marshall Field’s, they really don’t seem to have done badly with all the old May chains. The former Hecht’s seems to be doing quite well, for example. In contrast, Dillard’s really hasn’t righted itself, although they finally seem to be investing in their stores. Unfortunately, the service remains nonexistent and the selections are pretty uniform.

    I’m surprised Bob’s and Goody’s are even still in business. Bob’s was a great store when I lived in New England in the early 80s, but they strayed from their original niche and eventually got clobbered.


  31. RIP Bennigans 1976-2008

    As of today, Bennigans and Steak and Ale restaurants nationwide shut their doors for good. Their parent corporation has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

    Although I will greatly miss these establishments, their closing doesn’t surprise me. For several years, both the food and service have gone steadily downhill at my local Bennigan’s, with the restaurant being shut down on multiple occasions for health code violations. I just wish luck to the employees affected by this closure since they had no prior knowledge of their jobs being eliminated.


  32. What surprised me about this bankruptcy announcement is that apparently, they had spun off their Ponderosa and Bonanza restaurants, and that those aren’t part of the nationwide closings. The nationwide closures that occurred today just actually only affect company-owned restaurants(such as the downtown Chicago location across from the Art Institute, aka the ‘world’s busiest Bennigans’), but I don’t think it’ll be long before franchise restaurants of Bennigans/Steak & Ale/etc. shut their doors for good.

    I personally wish I could have one last Monte Cristo sandwich, since while I wasn’t a big Bennigan’s fan, I really liked those alot. I was also aware their location in Bloomington/Normal, IL(down where I used to go to college) was a franchise location, along with a few others in downstate IL. *sigh, since I’ll have to find a new place for my Monte Cristo cravings, lol*


  33. Bennigan’s has been in trouble for a while now…it can be inferred by the specials they were having this summer ($4.99 lunches with beverage and the $10.99 three course meal). Even with those specials, a few of my area Bennigan’s were so dead it wouldn’t surprise one to see tumbleweed roll through. And Steak and Ale has been closing locations around NJ for a while now. Both will be missed.


  34. what about the two boscov’s stores in virginia the one in danville & the rumoured one opening at watkins center in chesterfield county will it ever open or not


  35. Aw, that’s a shame–Boscov’s was one of my favorite stores from back home. I liked that they were much closer to the traditional full-line department stores, complete with a big candy counter. If Boscov’s were in Ohio, where I am now, I would never set foot in a Macy’s. (Not like I do much, anyway.)


  36. Well, Bennigan’s is a strange one. For almost every big bankruptcy, people knew it was coming. Admit it, you knew Montgomery Ward or CompUSA or Caldor wasn’t very well. Besides, half of the Bennigan’s will remain open–they only shut down company-owned stores (not franchises).


  37. Little off on what I reported on Bennigan’s, as I did an online search, and found the one in Normal was corporate(unlike what I was told from a friend), and had actually closed. I did find out though that locations in NW and northern Indiana were franchised, and remain open. Also read that locations in Iowa, some Michigan locations, and Louisiana ones(including a location they operate in Memphis, TN) are franchised, and will remain open. The Louisiana franchisee was quoted as saying ‘they’ll be open for years to come’, so I’m increasingly realizing that the parent company from the Dallas area was quite mismanaged, more than anything else.

    kris-alyx: The rumored Boscov’s location in the Chesterfield County area will probably not open anytime soon(if ever), due to the company’s financial troubles. However, their location in Danville, VA has been open for some time, but no clue if it’ll remain open long term, since it’s outside of their main operational area(eastern PA and western NJ).


  38. I don’t find it shocking that Bennigan’s went bankrupt. Many restaurant opperators who are in the mid price range between a fast food joint & Cheesecake Factory are seeing proffits & margins get squeezed.


  39. Starbucks eliminated 1,000 jobs yesterday, that really sucks on top of the amount of employees that worked at Bennigan’s. However, maybe the job-finding sites will get more business due to this.


  40. Also, Mervyns filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection yesterday, however they plan to keep all 175 locations open.


  41. As an expat from NJ, I’d be happy to see Macy’s signs everywhere if the brand maintained its integrity. Even though the Macy’s stores I grew up with were not always run under that name (they were “Bams” before), they still had a certain level of class…magic, even…that made shopping there special. But here in MD, most of the Macy’s stores were formerly Hecht’s, and the latter was easily a step or two below the former in terms of merchandising and overall ambience. Much like Stern’s, Hecht’s always felt a little frumpy, and the name change didn’t make any difference in that regard.

    To elaborate about Boscov’s, I can’t speak for any of the other stores it’s taken over, but at least two of the three in the Baltimore area were flat-out mistakes. Owings Mills Mall is a huge white elephant of a mall, filled with tons of empty space and sketchy “urban” stores; the first-line retailers that remain tend to bring up the rear in their districts or serve as dumping grounds for lower-end merchandise. Marley Station is doing better, but it’s hardly thriving; between its proximity to Arundel Mills and Annapolis Mall, the declining blue-collar areas that surround it, and mall management’s utter failure to deal with unruly customers, that’s not likely to change anytime soon. That leaves White Marsh, a very well-positioned mall that is a perfect reflection of the thoroughly middle-of-the road area that surrounds it. White Marsh would be the perfect place for Boscov’s if not for three things. One is The Avenue, a smallish but extremely popular lifestyle center adjacent to the mall that has stolen some of its thunder in terms of being an audience draw. Another is the fact that the same demographic tends to be pretty well-served by big-box center, and that area has no shortage of them. More important than either of those things is the fact that the mall has always relied on a steady stream of customers from points northeast, especially Harford County. There are no super-regionals between White Marsh and Delaware’s Christiana Mall, and Bel Air’s small, dated Harford Mall just isn’t much of a draw. But malls aren’t as important to Americans as they once were, and as Harford County’s population has exploded, so have both its retail base and its traffic congestion. When people do head down 95 on a Saturday, it’s usually to the Avenue. And while White Marsh is still pretty healthy despite all this, its target market does seem to be getting younger, and that doesn’t bode well for a department store looking to gain a foothold in a relatively unfamiliar market. I thought it was ambitious for Boscov’s to take over these stores, and apparently, I was right.


  42. The malls are the way of the past and all retailers are looking to get out of them. Stand alone store’s like Kohl’s, Target, and Best buys are fairing alot better.


  43. Well, I think you and I can safely agree that the smaller malls that haven’t diversified their collection/mix of stores and/or haven’t gotten renovated in forever are getting squeezed, and have been for some time. Disagree that all malls are in trouble vs. say, lifestyle centers. I think the malls that’ve been proactive in trying to diversify their mix of stores, and/or have recently undergone a renovation, are more likely to survive.

    Example: Harlem-Irving Plaza. From what my friend tells me about the new stores that’ve gone in, and or removed, in the last few years(and that they’ve announced are gonna open soon, such as a Spencer’s, and eliminating the small arcade they had by the food court), it makes me think that they’re at least doing a decent job of trying to reposition the mall to better compete with other near north or west suburban malls, such as Golf Mill and North Riverside. Finally, I’m almost jealous of my friend who lives near the HIP, since I haven’t had an opportunity to check the mall out in a few years, and at least since whenever they did finally remove the arcade that used to be there. Crossing my fingers that I’ll finally have a chance to revisit it within the next few months, and possibly luck out and get a few pics of the place….


  44. it just got worse if this is to believed acording to 4chan’s food board bennigans is closing & also a post at


  45. that’s kinda suprising about steak & ale there were three locations that i can think of in virginia one at k-mart near tanglewood mall in roanoke, & two in richmond near the abandoned cloverleaf mall & another one in the west end in i think henrico county.


  46. i mean whats next as far as stores closing does anyone want to start a death pool of which stores will close next.


  47. These will bee no brainers, Macy’s, Sears, Circuit City, Starbucks, dare I say it even Wal-mart will close a fare amount of stores. That doesn’t mean all of these chains will go out of business, they just will be smaller than they are today.



  48. walmart will i think be the last store chain to close i’ve been saying they are/were the gc murphys of the 2000’s & they’l probilly suffer the same fate as murphys.


  49. oh dear this is bad news I have only been to the one boscov’s in eatontown at the monmouth mall imagine if this store closes whats next?? bloomie’s or nordstrom??? aint much left thanx to greedy ass Macy’s with their takeovers. A&S gone in 1995 Stern’s gone in 2001 boscov’s gone in 2008????? its all Macy’s fault what greedy bastards I’d say bring A&S,stern’s and others that fell to Macy’s regin’s back to life and kick macy’s butts all over town haha I hate that store now with a passion


  50. I think some of the specialty stores, such as Pottery Barn, Williams-Sonoma and Pier 1 will retreat from some of the smaller markets. I also see the Gap stores coming close to biting the dust.


  51. Most that read this board know all about what stores are going to close and/are in trouble. How about stop talking about all this stuff about stores closing, this is depressing. How about talking about some successful stores. What stores are going to have a long successful future? Are there any? Most of the stores that are failing don’t get very good review from the posters on this website. It seems like they are some just bad businesses that do not change to adjust when consumers taste change, have bad merchandise or service, or are not managed good. Or could it be that most stores are not meant to be around forever? Maybe eventually all stores will close and new and different stores will open to replace them in the marketplace.


  52. This board is about memories. Its about the dominant form of shopping in the second half of the 20th Century: The Shopping Mall and the Department Store. Its about their disapparence in the face of the Big Box Store and the Strip Center. I remember going to Higbee’s, to Wiebolts and Montgomery Wards. Stores don’t last forever. I miss going to Marshall Fields and hated going into Woolworths. Watching places of fond memories and good times turn into emptyness and desertion is really sad, but we move on. One day new stores and new trends in shopping will take over and remember when the Wal-Marts and Best Buys ruled the retail world.


  53. I second Jamie B’s idea, my suggestions for quality successful stores are:

    -Target (high quality products at a fair price)
    -Hobby Lobby
    -Barnes and Noble
    -Bed, Bath, and Beyond
    -Apple (even though I don’t like some of their products, their retail stores are top notch)

    As far as restaurants go:

    -Dairy Queen


  54. Ditto what Chip said above.

    While we all want to show our disdain towards chains like Walmart, Macy*s and others, we should also look at chains that are still doing a ripping business, even in the face of this economy with tightening wallets.

    The only reason Walmart is hanging on is because you have a segment of the North American population where they can only afford Walmart.

    To my mind, retail is a cyclinic thing……just you wait. Maybe even our beloved ‘enclosed mall’ will make a comeback someday and lay the smackdown on these ‘big boxes’ and ‘lifestyle centers’. Only time will tell. 🙂 Atop that, only the strongest chains will be anchoring and residing inline space at these future malls.

    For now, we should keep memories of chains gone by, alive here.


  55. matt i feel you are right and wrong yes wal-mart dose well becase there are so many poor people in this country but thay are also there own worst enime. the small town stores do well and are for the most part clean and well run .but when it comes to urban markets thay are clueless. thay dont have managers traind for thes stores in the one i work shrink is out of control and managment changes so often that we dont even have a clue whats going on in the two years my store has been open i have had 3 store managers 3 co managers 4 asstaint managers with none curintly and two department managers just when things start to run smoothly its all upside down agin.


  56. Nitek: I always forget to put Gap on my watch list of stores that may file for bankruptcy. Thanks for mentioning Gap, since I’m definitely aware that since Old Navy lost its former novelty, they’ve continually been struggling to make a comeback in all their stores that they may never will successfully do.

    Ah, to think retail is always an interesting business segment to watch, since you never know when a dominant store you like will fall, and what future store(s) may later rise…..


  57. As for Chick-Fil-A, can they please start to expand closer to Chicago for the love of god, and finally not force us to go up to Regency Mall(in Racine, WI) or to South Bend for one? *le sigh*


  58. I agree about retail, who is dominant doesn’t last forever-or very long.
    Woolworth’s was the biggest, and the now gone Woolworth tower in Manhattan was the tallest building in the world until the Chrysler Building and then the Empire State Building were built. Today Woolworth’ s is no more, its last vestige being Payless Shoe Source.The Sears Tower in Chicago stands as testament to the day when Sears became the largest retailer, a title it held in the post war era until the late 80’s when Kmart had a brief ascendency to the top. Kmart bankrupted, recapitalized under Eddie Lampert and took over Sears, but the combined Sears Holdings is not as large as Kmart or Sears were as independent companies during their reign at the top. Walmart has been the largest retailer since the early 90’s, and its sheer size could keep it growing and expanding for several years to come, the price image the company has cultivated serves Walmart well during good times and bad. Sam’s Club is the poor performer of the Walmart base, Walmart Supercenters and the increasing rare traditional Wal-Mart Discount City drive the companies profits and volume while Walmart Neighborhood Markets have yet to prove their value to the company.

    Another dominant retailer of the past, The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company(A&P), has been around since 1859, making it the grandma of the grocery store business. A&P overtook Woolworth’s during the Great Depression and held the top spot in retail until Sears passed her by in the 1950’s. The company really lost its footing in the 50’s and 60’s by being late to modernize its store base, but it took unitl the 70’s for the cracks to show. It underwent a regrowth from the mid-80’s until the early 90’s, taking over regional supermarket chains from Kohl’s, Waldbaum’s, Shopwell, Farmer Jack, and Canadian supermarket Dominion. In the 90’s the company again stumbled picking up the dying Big Star chain in Atlanta from rival Grand Union and the New Orleans chain Schwegmann’s, both allowed A&P to survive a few more years in Atlanta and New Orleans only to retreat. The Kohl’s and Farmer Jack chains began losing money and A&P pulled the plug on the two in this decade. The Canadian operation was spun off and the chain was donw to its longtime Mid-Atlantic core stretching from the NYC region to DC. Now the chain is again in lead in the NYC region with the Pathmark merger. It’s safe to say A&P will be around to celebrate 150 years, but how much longer than that?

    Walmart could easily see ups and donws like A&P and the Big 3 automakers, taking a long decline with spikes upward along the way. The Sears Holding Company is also large enough to be slowly dismantled as well as the occasional purchase, such as rumored with Steve and Barry’s to also see a similar route, and in many ways, Kmart and Sears have been dismantled as Sears began spinning off its non-Sears businesses in the 80’s and Kmart doing the same in the 90’s. The department store business is getting a smaller and smaller piece of the retail pie, and a Macy*s pieced out of the remnants of Federated, May, R.H. Macy’s, Dayton-Hudson via May as Marshall Fields, Carter Hawley Hale, Allied, and Associated Dry Goods through its merger with May has emerged.
    Dillard’s, Belk, and the Bon-Ton have been the other players in the segment that have grown by the consolidation in the segment. The high end department stores-Nordstrom, Saks, Bloomingdale’s(part of Macy*s), Nieman-Marcus, Barney’s, and Lord and Taylor are less affected by this trend, appealing to a demographic less affected by recessions and price impact competitors.


  59. Good post, Ken. Only thing that I wasn’t sure about was how Payless Shoe Source was once related to Woolworth. Can you explain to me how both stores were related to each other?

    And to my knowledge, the Woolworth company still exists, but they renamed themselves to some obscure Latin language name that I forget, and own Foot Locker(among a few other chains). Maybe that’s changed more recently, from how I remember the Woolworth company was like after they shuttered all Woolworth stores in the U.S……..


  60. Very simply, the chains that reinvent themselves will be around. People like novelty. Apple has done a fantastic job of keeping people focused on its brand.

    I visited a few websites of regional retailers that don’t have a physical presence in my area. Specifically, others have touted the praises of Von Maur, Mervyn’s, and Boscov’s. So, I visited their websites. I was gravely disappointed by all three.

    Von Maur. What a cool logo. What a poor selection. And the clothing that they do offer online looks as if its pinned to scarecrows or archery targets. What a pitiful representation. Free Gift wrap, and a free revolving charge account are nice perks. But I couldn’t find a damn thing to purchase on their website. Limited selection, overpriced, and well, just plain gross.

    Boscov’s. Do they honestly think they can compete with such a lacklustre selection? And pricing was not stupendous either. I could find a better product mix and much deeper discounts amongst Nordstrom’s clearance or sale prices. What is it that people like about this retailer. Someone please tell me. Very boring website.

    Mervyn’s and the like. These stores, because of their concept of ever-revolving inventory miss out on website sales. They need to wake up and offer at least SOME online assortment. They have vendors from which they purchase overstocks. In this type of e-commerce society, they have become lazy and complacent. Their is no excuse for this. They deserve to go out of business.

    Belk. Quite possibly the most odd of the bunch in terms of what I would have expected. Aren’t they a full line retailer? Why does their website only offer hard lines, primarily consisting of china, a limited housewares selection, and bridal? Even from afar, I always had a fond impression of Belk, remembering my visits to North Carolina. But yuck is all I have to say with their horrifying website.

    Now, for one that I felt was excellent: Lord & Taylor.
    Visit their website and see if you don’t agree with me when I say I’ve never seen a website with pages that loaded so quickly. We’re talking like a nanosecond. The selection was good, and so were the prices. I hope this chain keeps chuggin’ along, doing its own thing. This store reminds me of the old Gimbels. Always on the forefront. Kudos!


  61. I’m probably less nostalgic than some here, esp. on the subject of malls, which have tended to be pretty underwhelming places filled with reptitive merchandise for a long time.

    The current recession will help Wal-Mart in the short-run, but basically they’ve exhausted their business model. There are no more cheap places for them to build, they’ve been creating volume on low growth, low margin merchandise like food and books, and their profit growth in recent years has come mostly from stuff like check cashing. They’re roughly where Sears was about 40 years ago and, unlike Target, they are two top-down and uniform in their structure to really move in directions that can improve their bottom line in the future. I think stuff like high interest rate credit cards are probably the only profit center I can see them developing in the future.

    Target has a more complicated business model that may be more difficult to maintain in the future, but they seem to do everything right in terms of reaching a slightly better off customer than Wal-Mart and also being well placed for getting higher end shoppers when they have to tighten their belts. Best Buy seems to be benefiting from Circuit City’s missteps, but

    Gap is in real trouble. All of their chains have been in decline for several years. They have lost the “kids” and they aren’t appealing to those of us who basically grew-up with them.

    Retail development has outpaced population and economic growth for decades, lots of marginal players are going to be headed for trouble. These are service businesses, yet service is often the first thing to go when things get bad or when management has to pay-off the debt from some ill-advised acquisition. In the food are, quality often suffers and laggards fail to innovate. There are lots of restaurants in the Bennigans niche and I’m sure others will go down with them. The strategy of closing corporate stores will be a problem–it’s easier to maintain consistency in your own stores. You also build a cadre of people who can keep an eye on franchises and work with them constructively when they slip. Bennigans won’t last long as a franchise only operation.


  62. I’m personally thinking that Bennigan’s won’t last for long as franchise-only in select areas of the country(and why I’m itching to go to a franchise location sooner rather than later, for one last Monte Cristo). If anything, the franchise owners might keep the most popular items that Bennigan’s offered(i.e. Monte Cristos, etc.), and just change the franchise restaurants into some new concept different from Bennigan’s.

    Speaking of chain restaurants, I’m very surprised that neither Applebee’s or TGI Friday’s have had to close any locations yet. I think Applebee’s is especially suspect to the danger of eventually being forced to close some locations, since I seem to recall they built more locations than any other chain restaurant in the category they compete in.


  63. CoryTJ, I agree with you in your post. I’m sure you’re aware about how Lord & Taylor expanded, and quickly closed their newer stores, and ended up reinventing their company. That’s what makes their brand so unique. They separated from May Company before May was purchased, and quickly fixed their mistakes. More retailers should take a look at Lord & Taylor’s example if they want to survive in these hard times.


  64. A couple of things…

    Lord & Taylor was split off _after_ May was bought by Federated, not before, Jeremy. Federated closed a few of the Lord & Taylors – 2 in Missouri, 1 in Michigan, and 1 in Pennsylvania.

    I don’t think the web sites are very indicative of how a retailer is performing, or how they operate their business. Some, like Von Maur, are not very web oriented for the reason that they do their customer service in-store. They do a great job of offering selection and serivce in-store, and even go to the trouble of ordering something if it cannot be found in one of their stores. If I were looking for a web retailer with brick and mortar stores, I’d look for one with a massive pre-existing catalog (such as JCPenney) to have a great on-line selection.

    Applebee’s built a lot of locations, but a lot of those are in small towns where they are the only restaurant of their kind for miles around. They seem to have deliberately gone into those smaller towns as well as bigger metro areas. TGI Fridays, on the other hand, seems to be mostly in the larger metro areas.

    Woolworth became Venorator which in turn became Foot Locker.


  65. Oh, well either way the point was that they do not exist with Federated under Macy’s or Bloomingdale’s nameplate so they basically were able to keep their individuality from the two. Just out of curiosity, let’s say Lord & Taylor didn’t split off, would you think that federated would let them keep their name and image? hmm..


  66. i’d agrree on belk’s website i mean it’s BAD REALLY REALLY bad, but the stores themselves are really really good.


  67. Yes the Belk website is disappointing if you want to get a feel for the merchandise selection found in Belk beyond Home and Kitchen furnishings. Parisian as well as Proffit’s and McRae’s had a more elaborate website under Saks. But I think it reflects the market Belk primarily serves and many of the old loyal customers are not part of the internet set. They will need to develop a better website it they are to attract new and younger customers and its website can only add to the disdain of a former Sak’s Inc. customer already missing their Parisian or Proffit’s/McRae’s.

    Also, in many of the small markets which Belk serves, Belk is the uppermarket retailer with Walmart as the price oriented retailer. As such, it is the store for Wedding and Baby registeries by default, unless someone ventures to larger metros. Also, what we know as Belk today was once an intangled web of over 100 separate companies in which Belk family ownership varied from majority to minority.


  68. Boscov’s filed for Chapter 11 today. 10 stores will close.



  69. The list of Boscov’s stores to close has been announced. There are a few surprises, but most of the ones to shut are ones that you guys guessed. The biggest surprise is NOT seeing the two Albany-area stores on the list; I assumed those were surely going to get dumped.


    Marley Station Mall, Glen Burnie

    Owings Mills Mall, Owings Mills

    White Marsh Mall, Baltimore


    Monmouth Mall, Eatontown


    Harrisburg East Mall, Harrisburg

    Monroeville Mall, Monroeville

    Montgomery Mall, North Wales

    Oxford Valley Mall, Langhorne

    South Hills Village Mall, Bethel Park


    Piedmont Mall, Danville


  70. Oxford Valley? I thought that place was doing well.

    Also, ouch, Monmouth Mall. That’s gonna be a huge spot to fill.


  71. Oxford Valley is doing fine and I don’t think that space will be a problem to fill…probably not Norstrom, but who knows. Monmouth Mall on the other hand, may be a problem

    I find it interesting that the Ocean County Mall location was chosen over the Monmouth Mall location, Let the remerchandising of Monmouth Mall begin!


  72. Another Simon Mall waiting for the big downfall. Since Simon purchased Southridge Mall, they have done nothing with it whatsoever. I think its fate will soon mirror that of its former sister mall, Northridge, that was shuttered a few years ago.

    This mall is busy and has a lot of foot traffic. But there is a change in the air. When Simon purchased the mall, Proffitt’s (parent company of Younker’s, later changed parent company name to Saks Inc.) purchased Carson Pirie Scott, (parent company of Boston Store) and closed the Younker’s in Southridge. Younker’s sat vacant for years, and Simon did nothing to attract anyone to the space. The city of Greenfield finally applied some pressure, and Simon ended up filling the space with a new and oddly configured floor plan: They split up the upper floors into a Linens -N- Things and a Cost Plus World Market. Only Linens is accessible through the upper level of the mall, in a weird, hokey “mini” entrance. The downstairs is occupied by Steve and Barry’s. Need I say more.

    While shopping in the mall yesterday, I noticed that bix boxes like old Navy and Victoria’s Secret occupied large wings of the center, spelling potential disaster if either Gap or Limited Brands goes under. There are also two Gamestop locations now. It just gets worse: a couple cellular stores, two nail salons, two mom and pop home decor places (Allmon’s and Village Shoppes), a “Perfumania” shop, a cat rescue shelter (in the former McDonald’s location), and some other “funky” retailers moving in here and there (Sphynx Imports, a “Korner Konvenience Store” in the old Fannie May location, and a funky clothing place complete with home made signage, in the old Bakers Shoes, and a local takeover of Glamour Shots, again with home made signage, come to mind.).

    Then there are the vacancies: Claire’s moved into a new space leaving a hole, Door County Confectionary is gone, The Lange Store is gone, Wilson’s Leather left a huge, gaping hole, Lane Bryant moved and left a hole, Zales and Pearle Vision both took a hike. I’m sure I missed some, but you get the picture. This mall is busy right now, but NEEDS ATTENTION!

    Simon has done NOTHING to update this mall since their takeover. It still looks identical the the now defunct Northridge. But there was a Simon Malls Table set up near the food court, touting all the fabulous choices in Simon Malls. It was unmaned. I would have loved to give them a piece of my mind.

    The biggest joke: Simon’s website proclaims that Southridge is the “largest mall in Wisconsin” which is a BIG FAT LIE!!! To make such a blatantly false claim just transcends miopia. It’s as if they don’t even know their own competition.

    Does anyone else have a mall in their town taken over by Simon? And if so, have you seen the same type of APATHY that I have observed. It’s sickening!


  73. I have noticed White Oak Mall in Springfield IL take a turn for the worse. The former Wards anchor was converted into Dick Sporting Goods on the upper level and Linen’n’Things (ouch) and World Market(OUCH! closed when they left Illinois)) on the bottom. Vacancies are up esp. in the Wards wing and the food court. Simon hasn’t bothered boarding up the former Eddie Bauer store yet. They should try to get JC Penneys to leave their dumpy stand-alone store on the other side of town and fill in the lower level of Wards when Linens shuts down


  74. I still remember when Boscov’s bought the old Stern’s locations at Monmouth and Ocean County Malls. They raced like hell to open the Monmouth Mall location before the Christmas rush, and took their time with the Ocean County store. You could tell when they opened that they put more planning into what they were doing in Ocean County.

    Boscov’s merchandise selection definitely fits better in Ocean County. Monmouth is still a somewhat “urban” location, and their merchandise definitely does not fit that demographic. Ocean County appeals to the middle class and senior markets, and Boscov’s does a nice job in that market, as far as I’m concerned.


  75. Boscov’s might also put the store up for sale also.
    It’s so horrable when good stores close down or have hard times. Boscov’s have so many great views. I hope Boscov’s can pull thougth.
    Vornado better do something nice at Monmouth Mall; but I have a feeling the changes at the mall will not upscale. Vornado mall’s are not upscale.
    I don’t knew information about the other nine malls: I do think Montgomery Mall,South Hills Village,Harrisburg Mall and Oxford Valley Mall will be ok. These malls ( Based on Wikipedia articles) seem to have a great future.

    BTW, I want to thank everyone for thier informative and interesting comments, I learned alot from reading them.


  76. Simon took over Columbus City Center in Columbus,Ohio. It was developed by Taubman, and later took over by The Mills. The mall was already staring to die and in 1997 The Mall at Turtle Creek opened to the west, 1999 Easton Town Center to the East, 2001 Polaris Fashion Place to the north. Eventually The Mills ran into financial trouble, and Simon took over in early 2007. Simon let the mall rundown, and the surrounding area as well. The City of Columbus evicted Simon in July 2007 due to this, plus owing money on rent for the land. Thankfully plans are underway to redevelop.


  77. Unfortunately, Simon owns Southridge in Milwaukee/Greenfield outright, except for a couple of the anchor spaces (which Bon Ton owns). I wish there was a way to raise public awareness of this slumlord. Maybe with a little pressure, they’d be proactive, rather than reactive. Wait, I can’t even say that they are “reactive”. Look at Machesney Park. The just let their malls go to hell. The only pay attention to their premiere top 5% tier malls. They don’t even respond to merchant inquiries or return calls to prospective tenants. My friend contacted Simon to look at some retail space for her store. Not one call was returned!


  78. Don’t judge simon based on these 2 malls. Columbus had to absorb 4 malls in a 3 year time frame. that is difficult in the best of situations. If Taubman with all of it’s resources couldn’t pull it off, how would Mills & Simon fair dispite being larger & having equal access to capital just like Taubman did?

    If you check out Simon’s line up of malls, they are for the most part well run & maintained. Roosevelt Field, The Westchester, Lenox Square/ Phipps Plaza & Menlo Park come to mind.

    Every mall company has it’s duds, sometimes they hold on to them because the land has to much value dispite the dead mall that sits there, or they are unable to unload it for one reason or another.


  79. Sean,

    You definitely raise some good points. But I still think Simon has been complacent in situations where it could have taken action to prevent a disaster. If indeed Southridge is “Wisconsin’s largest mall” (which there is no way in hell that it is), why wouldn’t Simon sink some money into it? It’s starting to show some major signs of weakness, including spaces that have now been vacant for over a decade.

    Comparatively, I don’t know of General Growth having as many duds in their lineup. Thoughts?


  80. I have to admit I’m suprised to see Oxford Valley on the dreaded list. I live about 10 minutes away and visit the mall frequently. As for Nordstrom moving in – I highly doubt it. Despite being near some slightly upscale areas, most shoppers at Oxford Valley are day-trippers via bus from Trenton or Philadelphia, or are hang-out teenagers. I know quite a few people who take regular trips to King of Prussia (over a half hour away) for upscale shopping, and with Nordstrom opening up shop in Cherry Hill and Christiana, I think Oxford Valley would not be a wise choice. Besides, there’s very little room to expand because of the other retail that surrounds the mall, as well as Sesame Place.

    I’m actually closer to Neshaminy Mall and am glad to see Neshaminy not on the dreaded list, as the Boscov’s there also has toy, candy, furniture and electronics departments.

    Apparently no one told Boscov’s their stores are closing, as the page for Oxford Valley still has events listed through December.

    And as for Oxford Valley becoming a dead mall, fat chance! The problem is, there already are Kohl’s, Walmarts, Best Buys, Targets and Barnes and Nobles in the area, so it may prove difficult to spill this spot. They don’t really have a “lifestyle center” yet though, so 20 bucks says new outdoor shops on old Boscov’s, along with a new theatre complex to replace the aging United Artists 10 Theatres on the edge of the mall.

    And as a final note, I find it interesting that Boscov’s is pulling out of Baltimore, but keeping 3 other relatively-speaking rural Maryland stores, but I guess this shouldn’t come as much of a suprise since they prefer their Camp Hill store over their Harrisburg mall store and their Ocean County store over their Shore Mall store.


  81. To me, it makes little sense why Boscov’s does better in its dead mall locations than at the successful malls. (I believe that aside from the Owings Mills Mall, all of the locations marked for closure are in healthy malls.) Is there anybody who can shed light on this fact?


  82. Ryan,

    Quick question…is Neshaminy Mall being renovated? Haven’t been there in a while and I heard something about it. The last time I was there was the first time I’d been there in a while and I was amazed with the growth of the area!

    As I mentioned above, I don’t think Nordstrom would open at Oxford Valley (don’t forget about Nordstrom coming to Quaker Bridge), but that mall is at one darn good location. It really depends on the direction that Kravco-Simon wants to take the mall.

    And with the Boscov’s closing at Monmouth Mall, MM is at a true crossroads.

    It also makes me curious to see which way White Marsh will go now that Boscov’s will close there. It took them a while to figure out to do with the former Lord and Taylor and with a resurging Christiana Mall in a tax-free state only 40 miles away, they need to make sure they do something to keep the Harford and Cecil County shoppers in state. And another little interesting obstacle…a very successful Avenue at White Marsh lifestyle center is across the street, so I’m not quite sure they’ll go that route with the prominently located building (happened to be Macy’s before they moved into the old Hecht’s).


  83. I’m not sure how long some of these stores have been open for, but that has alot to do with it I think.

    What it costs to maintain some of these stores is next to nothing, Stores like South Hills, the rent is probably insanely high, the fixtures etc in the bulding arent paid for, where as alot of the older stores that have been there for awhile…may not have an overall high sales volume, but it costs so little to maintain them, that those stores are actually very profitable.

    That’s just my guess


  84. Max,

    I think there are a couple of reasons to this. First, Boscov’s caters to more of a middle class population…in NJ at least, they are going head to head with both the mid-tiered department stores (JCPenney, Sears) and the big box stores (Kohl’s, Target) that aleady have a fairly loyal clientele. They thought to expand into new trade areas, but didn’t have enough time to establish an identity and with the heightened economic situation, eventually got squeezed out.

    Not only did they not establish an identity, they also abondoned their true identity. The first time I walked into a Boscov’s store was in the York Galleria in the 1990s. What I noticed about this store is the decor was quite gaudy with the chandeliers and the neon…and it was a mid-tier store. They were very successful with this design in their older stores (also observed this design in the Echelon and Moorestown stores), however, they did not design the new stores like this. Specifically, the Monmouth and Nanuet stores were more “toned down” and designed with an upscale shopper in mind. I will further add, at least with the Monmouth store, that very little in terms of flooring and design has changed since the A&S days and as a result, the store did not embrace its identity.

    I liked some things about Boscov’s and frankly, I’m sad to see it go, but as I said earlier the more stable malls such as Monmouth Mall, Oxford Valley Mall and White Marsh are at a crossroads considering what their competition is doing and if they don’t step up in some way, these malls could very well be hurt as a result.


  85. mallguy,

    Neshaminy added a new wing to the mall in 1998 which was anchored by a huge 24-screen AMC Theatre, still the main draw for Bucks County teenagers.

    If you’re thinking more recent, Barnes and Noble will be opening a new store next to Sears on the food court side (basically across from the movie theatre wing) in the coming months, the facade is already finished (except signage). Lately a lot of stores have been moving around, it feels like a new directory comes out every week.

    In general Neshaminy is doing well, but one anchor loss could definitely send shoppers to Oxford Valley, as crime is also slowly but surely becoming an issue.

    And yes, I did forget about QuakerBridge and they’re awesome mall expansion that’s actually a mall – a rarity these days.


  86. Ohhhh, so that’s what they’re filling CVS with. Interesting.


  87. Quick question…is Neshaminy Mall being renovated? Haven’t been there in a while and I heard something about it. The last time I was there was the first time I’d been there in a while and I was amazed with the growth of the area!

    Neshaminy Mall is adding a Barnes & Noble superstore. It is being built in the former Thrift/Eckerd Drug and Germantown Savings/CoreStates/First Union/Wachovia Bank area. The AMC Neshaminy 24 Theatre is also renovating one of the big houses to a Digital IMAX Theatre.


  88. Cory TJ,

    Is it possible that Simon will turn SouthRidge into a lifestyle center?

    If you want to talk about mall opperators with dead weight, Vornado Realty Trust of Paramus NJ has 2 of note, right here on this site. Springfield Mall & Monmouth Mall. The former has been in decline for a long wile & the latter we have been discussing on it’s own thred as well as this one over Boscov’s closure & what to do with that enormous store space.

    Check out the MM thred, The ideas there are very good & could save another mall from going down. Maybe the same could work for SouthRidge.


  89. Christiana Mall’s Lord & Taylor? Oh, yeah, about that. Supposedly, it’s going to be the Epicenter Collection, a “Internet catalog showroom”, so to speak. But no news about it since last summer, so I’m curious as to it will work out. I hope it succeeds. It sounds like a neat idea.


  90. wow I just read monmouth is closing that suxs a huge store I wonder what will be in its place now


  91. Sean, I wasn’t saying that simon is the worst company out there, nor that all their properties are neglected. The point was that simon doesn’t seem to do any good when they TAKE OVER a property. It just seems that the more luxurious economy is, the more simon renovates their malls, but hey that’s just my opinion.


  92. Sean, your the ideas you referred to are noteable. But Simon doesn’t appear to care enough to do anything. That is my point. Setting up tables outside of vacant storefronts touting the praises of Simon Malls isn’t what I call proactive. It’s myopic.


  93. Let me ask both of you a question, are the issues you raise do to poor management on the mall level, or are we talking on the corporate side. If it is the former, than you need a new management staff. If it’s the latter, then it is something else.


  94. I can only speak of Southridge. The problem appears to be apathy at the corporate level. The local mall management seems to do a good job, and the housekeeping in the mall is superb.

    Let me give you an example. The Younker’s store closed when it’s parent company, Proffitt’s, purchased Carson’s (parent of Boston Store). The Younker’s location, which was previously Gimbels, Marshall Field’s, and Prange’s, sat empty for years. Simon didn’t own the Younker’s space. The City of Greenfield gave them ample opportunity to fill the space. But Simon, as is their custom, did nothing. Finally, the City of Greenfield threatened to demolish the store or turn it into the Town Hall. THEN and ONLY then did Simon get off their ass and do something. Albeit, the hokey solution with Steve & Barry’s, Linens, and World Market is ugly and kind of “unshopable”, it filled the space temporarily. With S & B and Linens in bankruptcy, you would hope that Simon would be talking up Southridge to get another anchor. But if history repeats itself, they won’t. Why can’t “the biggest mall in Wisconsin” get an anchor?


  95. @mallguy It will be interesting to see what will be done with the White Marsh store. My guess is, not much. The immediate area has become completely saturated with stores, and with Bel Air’s exploding retail base to the north, Towson Town Center and the York Road corridor to the west, and struggling, declining areas to the east and south, White Marsh just isn’t the dominant force it used to be. Between being so successful for so long that renovation was apparently never a priority and being located in an area that is also not what it used to be, it would take a lot to change that. Maybe things would be different if the mall and The Avenue were a little closer together, without a busy feeder road and large parking lot between them. But the two are separate islands, without a lot of customer overlap, and Boscov’s isn’t on that side of the mall anyway.

    As for the other MD stores, my initial reaction upon hearing of their opening was to speculate that the lease-signer was smoking crack. No surprise there…none at all.


  96. Mallguy, thank you for your articluate answer to my question. The sad truth is this: Boscov’s tried to take on Macy’s, JCPenney, and Sears, and ended up failing miserably. These chains are infinately tougher competition than The Bon-Ton (which historically has been Boscov’s main rival).

    Even so, I still think that Boscov’s made some bad mistakes in choosing which ten locations to close. Certainly, the Binghampton, NY location should definately have been axed. Keeping stores open in other dead malls that few care about (Lebanon Valley Mall, Echelon Mall/Vorhees Town Center, Camp Hill Mall, Laurel Mall, etc.) also makes so sense. Based on what I read on this thread, I also believe that locations at White Marsh Mall, Monroeville Mall, and South Hills Village should have remained open at least another six months. Rather than carefully planning which stores should have been closed, it seems management had a knee-jerk reaction to simply close the stores that opened just two years ago.


  97. crap & i’d hoped that the danville store would stay open so there’s really no chance of the store they were going to build in chesterfield county ever being built.well we might FINALLY get a ikea maybe or at least that was the rumor.


  98. Check out Plain Vanilla Shell, there’s a story on Boscov’s receiving $250,000,000 to keep 39 stores in opperation. A liquidator will take the inventory of the 10 closing stores.

    To Matt from Wi & others,

    There is also a story on a Wisconsin mall that may be flipped for a quick profit.


  99. how did southridge in milwaukee get into this but you should know i also am not a fan of simon,but have been going to southridge from the vary first day it was open and its a funny thing you keep saying all this bad stuff about it but the parking lot is alwas full and mall is vary bussy. and as far as size goes it is fisicaly the largest in the state its not the number of stores its the sqarefootage of them. southridge stores are vary large look at the sise of boston store alone then figer that the sears and jcpenny are just as big the steve and barrrys is over 100thousand sq. ft and that is just one leveal of the old gimbels store so even though mayfair has more stores thay have less sq footage . but i do agerr that if simon dose nothing soon it will be a problem.


  100. John,
    If you read my previous posts, I mention that Southridge is not a mall “just hanging on”, but that it is starting to show some cracks. Some mom and pop stores, nail salons, and even a cat shelter are filling the roster at Southridge. Furtehrmore, Steve and Barry’s and Linens are both in serious financial trouble. Imagine Southridge with these two big empty barns! And recall that they only came to be in the first place after the City of Greenfield threatened to level the former Younkers. I’m not trying to rip on the mall; I’m just stating some facts.

    Now, about the square footage issue: take a look at Appleton’s Fox River mall, for example. It has a tri-level Macy’s that is bigger than the space at Southridge occupied by Steve and Barry’s and Linen’s. It also has a JCPenneys that is the same square footage as the Southridge store, a Younkers that is the same square footage as it’s sister Boston Store at Southridge, a Target, a Sears with an identical footprint to the one at Southridge, and a giant Scheel’s Sports as a mini anchor, which rivals the size of Southridge’s Koh’s. Then it boasts a humongous multi-level food court, a multiplex theatre, and several corridors of stores many of which exceed the sizes of their counterparts in Southridge. Look at the size of the big boxes like Pottery Barn and Lens Express for example. Comparing the two malls, anyone who has had to walk through Fox River mall from end to end and down each corridor could tell you that it is much larger than Southridge. That is what naffs me off about Simon’s claim. There is just no merit to it anymore, and there hasn’t been for quite some time. The total gross leasable area in Fox River Mall is 1,210,000 and it has 180+ stores. Macy’s owns their own space in this mall, so add that on. Southridge is only 1,150,000 square feet of leasable space. It is 1,200,000 if you count the unleaseable portion of the former Younker which is being used as storage. Still not the largest.

    A coalition was formed by the mall’s original developer, Senator Herb Kohl, to urge Simon to revitalize and invest in Southridge. No one can figure out what Simon’s interest in southridge is, as noted in the JS business Journal.


  101. While I strongly feel that Bloomingdale’s is a bad fit for the Monmouth Mall (or, more accurately, that the Monmouth Mall is a bad fit for Bloomingdale’s), I think that chain may want to take a look at some of the other malls that will soon be missing a Boscov’s.

    Certainly, the Baltimore market could support a Bloomingdale’s; however, both White Marsh Mall and Marley Station are not desireable enough for the chain. A much better possibility exists in the Pittsburgh market: currently the only luxury department store in all of western PA is the soon-to-open Nordstrom at Ross Park Mall. By opening up in the Monroeville Mall or South Hills Village, Bloomingdale’s would end the monopoly that Nordstrom currenty has there.

    That being said, I must state that I don’t think Bloomingdale’s will locate in either Pittsburgh area mall. For one thing, Bloomingdale’s refused these locations just two years ago. Additionally, I think that the chain may suffer from a snobbish, New York way of thinking that areas like Pittsburgh (and much of the rest of the country, especially middle America) are not “sophiscated” enough to support a Bloomingdale’s. In the meantime, Nordstrom keeps on grabbing great locations again and again: Ross Park Mall, Natick Collection, Christiana Mall, Cherry Hill Mall, Quaker Bridge Mall, and more.


  102. I agree with max I think bloomies would be a werid fit at monmouth. I even think its a weird fit for bloomies to be in willowbrook mall with sears?? dont add up really. I just dont know what they are goin to put in its place this is the thrid store to close in that spot in the last 13 years a&s in 1995 then stern’s in 2001 and now boscov’s


  103. Why not one of the Bon-Ton nameplates? I’m not familiar with Boscov’s, since I’m based in the midwest. But from their website offerings, they seem to be a mid-tier department store with a moderate assortment. We love our Boston Store/Carson Pirie Scott/ Elder Beerman/ Bergner’s/Younker’s here in the midwest. Would a Bon-Ton fit in that space? Just a thought.


  104. Chris,

    Don’t forget about MOA, King of Prussia & South Coast Plaza. All three have Bloomingdales & Sears just like Willowbrook.


  105. Well KDKA( CBS Channel 2 Pittsburgh ) did a report on what could replace Boscov’s at Monroeville and South Hills Village malls.
    At South Hills Village local experts could see is a Nordstrom’s or an Whole Foods replacing Boscov’s. Link to watch report below,
    I was also see that happening at close Boscov’s stores. If Boscov’s sales if self, I could see Bon-Ton buying the stores.


  106. If the economy in the surrounding area can support a store, then there really isn’t a reason to “shoo” away a department store from a mall. Sure, there are some locations that could be eliminated, but let’s say you have a mall with JCPenny, Sears, Macy’s, and Bloomingdale’s. If you eliminate bloomingdale’s, then that takes away the variety of selection (as luxury), and thus the upper class will spend their money elsewhere. Therefore eliminating good healthy profit from the mall. Of course this is just a hypothetical situation, so I’m sure it’s not 100% accurate, but is it somewhat.


  107. In the Pittsburgh market, Boscov’s stores in South Hills Village and Monroeville malls are top notch locations. While I see the possibility of a Nordstrom locating at South Hills Village, partly due to the fact that when the Nordstrom at Ross Park Mall opens, it is destined to be one of the most profitable stores in the chain, I don’t see the Pittsburgh market with three Nordstrom’s. Monroeville Mall can also support a Nordstrom, but I don’t believe that the company would want to open so many locations in a 25-mile radius of Pittsburgh.

    As with Bloomingdale’s, I think the only mall in the area that could support such a store would be at Ross Park Mall, since the market there can warrant it. Unless Simon decides to kick JCPenney or Sears out to put it in, I don’t see them coming to Pittsburgh. Bloomingdale’s is on par with Neiman Marcus, another luxury department store chain.


  108. What happened to the Epicenter Collection at Christiana Mall? It was supposed to be an Internet catalog showroom, so to speak, but it just hasn’t materialized yet! What is taking them so long? Why aren’t we seeing this at other malls?


  109. 2 Stories on Plain Vanilla Shell today,
    Mervyn’s closing 26 stores, Sacramento Bee& Steve & Berry’s liquidation is in termoil, NY Post.



  110. Here’s a bit of information you probably didn’t know: Mervyn’s is owned by Cerberus, a large corporation that owns a Meadwestvaco’s paper business, about 600 or so Albertson’s, and a few car rental companies. So…does that mean Cerberus will sell Mervyns?


  111. As someone who has firsthand experience at one of the Pittsburgh Boscov’s (Monroeville) I have to say that I would be surprised if the chain makes it to Xmas 09. I have been at the Monroeville Mall store from the beginning after spending 10 years with Federated-Macy’s and I can say without a doubt that Boscov’s upper management has no idea what they are doing. The stimulus check promotion was a total fiasco that supposedly cost the company a million dollars, the company wastes so much money it would make your head spin. I know a lot of people have a love affair with Boscov’s but seeing the way they have treated the employees (no severance for anyone, even people who had been with the company for a long time) I hope the whole company goes down in flames


  112. After thinking about the Boscov’s stores that are closing, is it possible that the choices were driven as much by leases about to run out than by stores that were not successful? I mean, if they have a store with mere months left on the lease, would that not make them somewhat more likely to close that store than one which was just renewed?


  113. Mike, I was also thinking that the individual performance of each store was not the primary factor as to which stores Boscov’s decided to close. Rather, I think that Boscov’s chose to keep the stores that it owns (or stores where the lease has been mostly paid off), while closing the stores where large lease payments remain.

    This line of thinking goes a long way towards explaining why Boscov’s would choose to close prime locations at Monroeville Mall, South Hills Village, Oxford Valley Mall, Montgomery Mall, and White Marsh Mall: despite the fact that these stores may very well have been profitable, Boscov’s still had very big lease payments left on them. At the same time, I am guessing that Boscov’s owns the stores it chose to keep open that happen to be located in dead malls, such as Frederick Town Mall, Fairgrounds Square Mall, Shore Mall, Vorhees Town Center, Clifton Park Center, Lebanon Valley Mall, and Camp Hill Mall, as well as their location in downtown Binghampton.

    Because it looks like store performance was not the prime factor in Boscov’s decision regarding which stores to close, I must conclude that the chain is only thinking about its very short-term future (to the detriment of its long-term future). Honestly, because of terrible decisions top management made in the recent past (such as opening ten new stores at once, and introducing that failed rebate program), I truly believe that Boscov’s top management screwed up in their decision of which stores to close.


  114. i dont know why they closed strawbridges in the first place. i live by the willow grove mall, and it was always crowded there. the space was for sale for the longest time, and when i heard boscovs pruchased it, i was pissed. willow grove mall has always been a mall of premier stores(not as premier as king of prussia obviously, but still somewhat), not stores like boscovs. they dont have any name brands, like polo, tommy, ecko, rocawear, lacoste, etc. im glad to see that boscovs is not opening in willow grove, but now what are they going to put in that space, some other lame retail store. they were dumb for closing strawbridges, especially in willow grove. and what happened to that statement that only one strawbridges was to stay open out of them all, because i cant seem to find that store.


  115. Joe, if you are upset over the Strawbridge’s at Willow Grove Park Mall being closed, you should blame Macy’s. As a result of the Federated-May merger, the entire chain of Strawbridge’s (along with ten other chains) was renamed Macy’s. However, since Macy’s already had a store at the Willow Grove Park Mall, Federated decided to close that Strawbridge’s (rather than keep it open as a very redundant, second Macy’s store at the mall).


  116. I’m pissed that Macy’s decided to kill Strawbridges

    Not only did that kill THAT chain, but as a result of Boscov’s opening into the former Strawbridges, their business took a huge hit.

    Seriously Macy’s, why did you have to make every store into a Macy’s?

    I can understand rebranding as Macy’s in a mall with Strawbridges, JCP, and Sears, but if there was already a Macy’s in the mall, why couldn’t they have left it as is?


  117. With the new ecomonic crisis that started when the stock market crashed in September, it is safe to say Boscov’s is finished. As a matter of fact, I predict that going out of business sales will be held very shortly after Christmas.

    Had the crash not happened, there still would have been no more than a 50% chance of Boscov’s surviving. Right now, I can only hope that Sears will stay in business.


  118. If Sears goes under, then we’ve got even bigger problems in retailing then we all thaught. Most malls in every Metro area in the US & Canada have a Sears anchor, wich if lost could be the end for that mall if the property doesn’t have a strong lineup of stores to carry aditional weight. Especially if another anchor is already dark.


  119. max, i totally agree with you. when strawbridges was still open, i used to swear to myself that i would never shop at macys, because they carried the same brands of clothing, it was just way overpriced, never stocked to meet customer demand, some clothing was in bad shape(rips, stains) and the styles were never up to date. since then, i have gone back on my promise. things have changed at macys somewhat, and they have alot of things i like nowadays, but for me it still doesnt replace the clothing quality, service, and deals that i got at strawbridges 100 percent.


  120. GREAT NEWS!

    BRIEF: Boscov’s officially back in family hands

    Maria Panaritis

    December 5, 2008

    Dec. 5–The Boscov family today closed on the deal to buy back its 39-store department store chain from bankruptcy for about $300 million.

    The investor group led by Albert Boscov, 79, and his brother-in-law Edwin Lakin of Reading, missed their Black Friday buyback deadline by a week because of financing delays.

    But the deal went through after Susquehanna Bank and other lenders agreed to provide short-term loans to cover about $50 million in state and other public aid expected to come in over the next two months, said J. Scott Victor of NatCity Investments, Inc., investment banker for the Boscov-Lakin group.

    “It’s awesome,” Victor said. “It’s a true holiday miracle that this was able to be done.”

    A call to Boscov was not immediately returned.

    “He’s very happy and, I think, relieved to know that it’s final and that he can move on with things and get back to being on top,” said Claudia Springer, who represented Boscov in the deal.


  121. Boscov back in the fray CEO has phones at both ears reviving bankrupt stores during recession

    James Haggerty, The Times-Tribune, Scranton, Pa.

    December 9, 2008

    Dec. 9–Al Boscov was back at the wheel Monday after steering his family’s department store chain out of bankruptcy.

    “We are in possession of the stores as of Friday at 5 o’clock,” Mr. Boscov, 79, said from his office in Reading. “Now, we’re trying to figure out how we can do business and make friends.”

    Mr. Boscov hopes to draw holiday shoppers with competitive prices and make the company more responsive to customers.

    His re-emergence as company chairman and CEO practically three years after he retired caps a reversal of circumstances for Boscov’s Inc. The 90-year-old Reading-based company sought bankruptcy protection in August and was threatened with liquidation before a family group he headed assembled $300 million in financing to save the 39-store chain.

    “He’s re-energizing the company,” Steve Vituszynski, manager of Boscov’s at the Mall at Steamtown, said Monday. “Basically, without him, probably none of us would have jobs after Christmas.”

    On Monday, Mr. Boscov carried on two telephone conversations at once, interrupting both briefly to tell an aide about a “cashmere Christmas” advertising plan.

    He knows the challenges: Retail sales nationwide in November were the weakest since at least 1969 and consumers are scaling back on holiday spending as the credit-crippling recession drives up unemployment and depletes household finances.

    “People are seeing things change dramatically and they are concerned,” Mr. Boscov said. “There’s a bit of a scare as to what the future holds.”

    Boscov’s short-term future is in merchandising competitively priced essentials to wary shoppers, who are steering away from luxuries this season.

    “We’re trying to find things that will make sense and save customers some money,” Mr. Boscov said. “The market is soft, so we can find lots of great buys as long as customers want them.”

    The chain had a solid performance on Black Friday, he said, but sales for the season so far are only fair.

    “Just about everyone is down,” he said.

    Boscov’s got into financial trouble after expanding into new markets shortly before conditions turned catastrophic in the retail sector.

    The chain closed 10 unprofitable stores after the bankruptcy filing and more modifications are under way.

    “We’re working on changing our business model as fast as we can,” Mr. Boscov said, citing confusion among shoppers about the store’s coupons and promotional incentives. “We’re certainly going to clean up some of the things that angered our customers.”

    Contact the writer:


  122. Boscov’s loan ‘risk-free’

    Ben Wolfgang, Republican & Herald, Pottsville, Pa.

    January 9, 2009

    Jan. 9–As Schuylkill county commissioners prepare to vote this morning on funneling federal dollars to Boscov’s department store, GOP leaders examine whether the $35 million loan guarantee violates their mantra of keeping government out of business matters.

    “Do I think government should be going around lending money to whoever? The answer is no,” county Commissioner Frank J. Staudenmeier, the lone Republican, said Wednesday. “But, this isn’t give-away money. This is a loan that has to be paid back by Al Boscov.”

    “We all hope Boscov’s survives. But, I hope the company can survive without any taxpayer dollars,” state Rep. David Argall, R-124, said in a telephone interview Thursday afternoon.

    Staudenmeier and fellow commissioners Mantura M. Gallagher and Francis V. McAndrew will vote today on whether to provide $5.8 million to Boscov’s, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy six months ago and quickly closed 10 of its stores across the state.

    While no county taxpayer money will be expended — the money is ultimately federal appropriations through Section 108 loans, with Schuylkill and five other counties set to act only as pass-through agents — the issue has turned a familiar national debate over government bailouts into a local one.

    “The argument here is a philosophical one, not a financial one,” said Frank Zukas, president of the Schuylkill Economic Development Corp.

    Staudenmeier said the measure is necessary, with 155 jobs at stake in the company’s only Schuylkill County location — an anchor store at the Fairlane Village mall, Pottsville.

    The plan is part of a larger picture, with Al Boscov, the company’s recognizable face and owner, putting up about $100 million in collateral for the loan.

    “It is essentially risk-free for the counties. In the event of a default … the commonwealth would step in” so county money isn’t affected, said Steve Weitzman, spokesman for the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development.

    Schuylkill is one of seven counties approached to funnel the money, as required by Section 108 protocol. Weitzman said the loan guarantee applicant must be a municipality, such as a county.

    Lebanon and Cambria counties have approved the deal, while Snyder County commissioners rejected it last month. Blair, Lackawanna and Butler counties have yet to vote on it.

    Argall said he understands the importance of retaining jobs in Schuylkill County, particularly in today’s rough economic climate. However, he opposes the use of taxpayer dollars — at any level, federal, state, county or local — to do it.

    Supporters of the deal say another business in another state would apply for Section 108 funding, meaning federal tax dollars could either be spent saving a local retail institution or sent halfway across the country to save a company no one in Schuylkill County has ever heard of.

    “Why should people in Oklahoma be the ones getting this money?” commissioners Chairwoman Mantura M. Gallagher said Wednesday.

    Initially, Staudenmeier said he was skeptical of the plan.

    “We had some questions that had to be answered,” he said. “Everybody needs to understand that this is a loan. We’re fully protected.”

    Staudenmeier also said losing 155 jobs would be a backbreaker, following last month’s announcement that Goulds Pumps, Ashland, would transfer 86 jobs out of Schuylkill County.

    “I knew a lot of those people personally,” Staudenmeier said. “We can’t afford to lose another industry in Schuylkill County.”


  123. I’ve been engaged in taxations for longer then I care to admit, both on the private side (all my working life!!) and from a legal point of view since satisfying the bar and pursuing tax law. I’ve supplied a lot of advice and corrected a lot of wrongs, and I must say that what you’ve put up makes utter sense. Please persist in the good work – the more individuals know the better they’ll be outfitted to deal with the tax man, and that’s what it’s all about.


  124. In September of this year, Boscov’s emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy. While this is good news, I don’t want to get too excited given the fact that both Bradlees and Caldor exited Chapter 11 only to go out of business a couple years later.

    According to Albert Boscov, there is a possibility that the chain will open new stores in 2010. Of course, this does make me very nervous, since the huge expansion of 2006 is what almost made Boscov’s go out of businees in the first place.

    Putting aside this nervousness, there are several places where I would like to see a new Boscov’s open: First and foremost would have to be the vacant John Wanamaker/Strawbridge’s in the King of Prussia Mall. (I find it absolutely shocking that KOP has been unable to fill this space after all this time. Yet, I still highly doubt Boscov’s will open here since the cost of operating at KOP is probably equivalent to the cost of operating three locations at “average” shopping malls.) Additionally, if Boscov’s ever wanted to enter the northern New Jersey market, a good location for them would be the vacant Fortunoff at (what used to be known as) the Wayne Towne Center.

    Finally, there’s always the very slim chance that Boscov’s would be interested in re-opening one of the stores that they closed last year. Out of all the stores they closed, I feel that their best options would be to re-open their locations at White Marsh Mall, South Hills Village, and Monroeville Mall. They may also want to consider the vacant Strawbridge’s at Willow Grove Park Mall, which is where the chain said they would open a new store (yet never followed through due to their bankruptcy).


    SEAN Reply:

    @Max, Target was rumered to take the empty department store at KOP acording to wikapeadia. Personally I think this is a good idea, but not likely right now. Also at times wiki is questionable with there fact finding.


    mallguy Reply:


    If they want to keep it upscale, I would be very interested in seeing Saks open in that space. However, that space is a lot bigger than a normal Saks store and I think there is a stand alone Saks nearby.

    I do agree that Target could work, Boscov’s probably not.

    When all else fails, there’s always lifestyle space…

    Speaking of Boscov’s, I wonder what will be done with their former space at Oxford Valley Mall…


    Max Reply:


    As far as I know, all ten stores that Boscov’s closed last year remain vacant. I fully expect them to remain that way until the recession ends.


  125. I’ve heard rumors of Target and Dick’s taking up each level of the former Boscov’s at South Hills Village. If they decide to reopen the store at that mall, then they are taking a calculated risk. Why close it in the first place then?

    As far as Monroeville is concerned, I would like to see them put a megaplex theater in the mall. The closest ones are about 10 miles away in the Waterfront and North Versailles and it would be more convenient if there was one in Monroeville. They could also move Dick’s into the mall since the store in the annex is small.


    Gary Reply:

    There’s also a standalone Sears near the Monroeville Mall, I think its business would greatly benefit if it moved to the mall as well.


    SEAN Reply:

    @Gary, Sears took over the former JC Penney at the White Plains Galleria in 2001. The former site was three blocks away on Main Street & is now WalMart & Berlington Coat Factory. The move was nothing short of desasterous for the stores customer base who walked from the Galleria Mall to Sears . Now padestrians walk to the City Center with Target, Barns & Noble & Cinema Delux as well as the formentioned Wal-Mart & Berlington Coat across main street.

    As this example shows moving a store can have consequences. If the customers feel they’re being put into a posission of having to jump through hoops to get to a store, most of them will go somewhere else.


    Gary Reply:

    @SEAN, well it may have been distasterous in that case, but Monroeville is heavily automobile oriented rather than walkable so I don’t think it would make it too inconvenient, in fact it would be the other way around.


    SEAN Reply:

    @Gary, And how bad is the traffic in Monroeville?

    Across Gottard Boulevard from The King of Prussia Plaza is a strip mall with a few restaurants, Best Buy, Nordstrom Rack & Regal Cinemas. You could walk it, but the access was intentionally designed for only auto traffic. If they made it easier for padestrian movement the level of unnessessary traffic would drop to zero. I’ll bet the same could be said for Monroeville.


    Gary Reply:

    @SEAN, the traffic situation in Monroeville is pretty mild compared to other commercial areas across the country. During the holidays it can be pretty crazy though, but I guess that’s everywhere. A few years ago, the local government was working on a proposal to make US 22 more friendly for pedestrians including adding sidewalks, trees and lighting throughout that stretch, but I have yet to see any improvements to that road.


  126. I’m really not sure where to post this, but I wanted to discuss the awful news of A&P’s bankruptcy. As you probably know, A&P’s bad financial position is largely due to the fact that it took on so much debt in order to acquire Pathmark. I really fear for this chain, especially after they closed 25 stores earlier this year (including their oldest store in Maplewood, NJ).

    In my opinion, the finest retail prototype ever designed is the A&P Centennial. (Centennial stores were built from the late 50’s to very early 70’s.) Unfortunately, very few of these lovely brick buildings are still operated by the company today. I am so lucky, however, that there is an A&P Centennial still open in Morristown, NJ (which is close to where I reside). Some other Centennials still in operation can be found in Pluckemin, NJ; Goldens Bridge, NY; and Katonah, NY.

    The Acme Style webmaster wrote an excellent article on the Morristown A&P that I think you’ll enjoy. It is found at the following link:


  127. To follow up on my last post, analysts are predicting that
    A&P will close 100 stores (out of about 400 total) next
    year. This, of course, comes after the company closed these
    following 25 stores in October: *A&P – Berlin, CT
    *A&P – East Brunswick, NJ *A&P – Lodi, NJ
    *A&P – Maplewood, NJ (which was the oldest operating
    A&P, having opened in the 1940’s) *A&P –
    Woodbridge, NJ *A&P – Yorktown Heights, NY (the location at
    100 Triangle Center) *Pathmark – Belleville, NJ *Pathmark – Fort
    Lee, NJ *Pathmark – Marlboro, NJ *Pathmark – Millville, NJ
    *Pathmark – North Bergen, NJ *Pathmark – North Brunswick, NJ
    *Pathmark – South Plainfield, NJ *Pathmark – Union, NJ *Pathmark –
    West Paterson/Little Falls, NJ *Pathmark – Garden City Park, NY
    *Pathmark – Monsey, NY *Pathmark – Bristol, PA *Pathmark –
    Broomall, PA *Superfresh – Lansdale, PA *Superfresh – Towson, MD (a
    Centennial building located on Dulaney Valley Road, across from
    Towson Town Center) *Superfresh – Wheaton, MD *Superfresh – Willow
    Grove, PA *Waldbaum’s – Centereach, NY *Waldbaum’s – Levittown,


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