This is a relatively new feature to our site. While we’ve periodically reported retail news throughout the years, we’d like to establish a regular digest of major retail events on a bi-weekly or as-warranted basis. We’ll see how it goes.
As with our mall articles, interactivity is key. While we’d like to try to cover all major news stories, this is not possible for practical purposes. There are some stories we will inherently miss – we live in a big world full of a lot of information. As such, you can help us gather the news by posting relevant recent happenings to the comments page for these news features. And, as always, you can post specific news items to their individual mall posts, if we have one. So, feel free to add stories you’d like to discuss and leave comments on the ones we’ve listed.
Comings and goings:
- Anchor Blue, a mall-based, youth-oriented fashion retailer, is going out of business, closing all 117 stores. The chain, based in Southern California, is a mainstay in malls in the western United States. Originally Miller’s Surplus, and then Miller’s Outpost, the chain once had stores in the Midwest and Southeastern states, but during recent troubles had pared down its locations.
- Target is taking the Great White North by storm, offering to buy up most of the Zellers locations throughout Canada. I haven’t seen the list yet, but this will give Target a presence in many Canadian malls. This strategy came as a surprise to many analysts, who did not expect Target to be this aggressive. There are many details to be worked out, but Target hopes to open 100-150 stores in Canada by 2014. In a twist of the story, they may have to use a different name, due to another company’s extant trademark on the Target name in Canada.
- Sears at the former Rolling Acres Mall is closing by April 2011. Sears, along with JCPenney Outlet, was one of the mall’s original tenants in 1975, and had stayed open after the mall closed permanently in October 2008.
- Sears is also closing its store at the failing Charlestowne Mall in St. Charles, Illinois, a western suburb of Chicago, where it was also a charter tenant. The mall’s occupancy rate has dwindled in recent years due to a geographic shifting in retal investment in focus away from the North Avenue corridor and onto the Randall Road corridor.
- Sears is closing yet another store at the beleagured Raleigh Springs Mall near Memphis. Sears is the last anchor store at Raleigh Springs, so don’t expect this one to be around much longer.
- Sears’ Kmart division is closing a bunch of stores.
- Macy’s is closing at Austin’s nearly empty Highland Mall in March 2011. Austin Community College is considering buying the space, and the few remaining tenants in the mall are worried about their futures.
- Macy’s is also closing its store at south-suburban Atlanta’s failing Union Station Mall. Originally called Shannon SouthPark Mall, the departure of Macy’s leaves the mall with only one anchor, Sears.
- Borders has revealed major liquidity problems, including being unable to pay its vendors and publishers. They are closing many stores, including the high profile Michigan Avenue location in Chicago as well as a distribution center in Nashville. Their problem is not unique among bricks-and-mortar bookstores, as many others are losing out due to eReaders, iPads, and internet booksellers.
- Saks Fifth Avenue is leaving Denver’s upscale Cherry Creek Mall in Denver, where it has been a charter tenant since 1990. In 2010, Saks closed stores in San Diego and Orange County, CA, Portland, OR, Long Island, NY, Charleston, SC, and Plano, TX.
- Bealls Texas is leaving the troubled Midway Mall in Sherman, TX.
- Abercrombie and Fitch is apparently paring down locations, closing stores at the Post Oak Mall in Texas, Broomfield Crossing near Denver, Southgate Mall in Missoula, MT, and Peachtree Mall in Georgia.
- Tax-free upscale shopping comes to the northeast corridor, as Nordstrom plans to open its first Delaware location at the Christiana Mall in April 2011.
- Lowe’s opens soon at Bergen Town Center in Paramus, New Jersey, formerly Bergen Mall. Wonder what they did with the underground Village Mall relic?
- Opry Mills, a large Nashville mall that has been closed since flooding devastated it in May 2010, sees a glimmer of hope for re-opening. It probably won’t be until 2012 or later, though. The mall has been mired in troubles since the flood, including fights between the owner and the insurance company.
- Target and Dick’s Sporting Goods are coming to replace the vacant Boscov’s at South Hills Village, a successful mall near Pittsburgh. They plan to be open by July 2012.
- The north Tucson Safeway grocery store will reopen today, one week after a national tragedy occurred there.
Other retail news:
- A gunman holed himself up at Baja Fresh in the Chandler (AZ) Fashion Center after firing shots at undercover police officers outside Sears, causing a five hour long standoff that eventually ended peacefully.
- The Syracuse Post-Standard reported today that Destiny USA has not indicated when it will finish construction on the 1.3 million square-foot addition to Carousel Center mall, which was abruptly halted in 2009 despite being 90 percent finished.
- A flashmob, apparently organized through social media, apparently turned into a disturbing, scary fracas on Jan 2 when it descended upon a suburban Milwaukee mall. Witnesses at Mayfair Mall said they were trampled and had to run for cover, fearing for the worst, as 50-60 youths ran through stores and trashed them. “A crowd of like 50 to 60 kids just came barreling through the upstairs door at Boston Store, knocking down everything they could touch. They went running down the stairs. All that we heard was glass breaking. There was security yelling to every manager to lockdown the doors, lockdown the mall, lockdown the store,” one customer said, according to WISN-TV. Also, at the same time the flashmob occurred, gunshots were fired in an attempted robbery in the parking lot. Mayfair is one of Wisconsin’s largest and best malls, and Milwaukee is no stranger to the perception of crime killing off retail venues. A 1992 murder in Milwaukee’s Northridge Mall parking lot, perpetrated by a white man against his pregnant wife, and blamed on a black man, began a perception of crime at the mall that contributed significantly to its downfall and closure a decade later. What will happen to Mayfair after this incident, which coincidentally was perpetrated by mostly black youths? According to a WISN-TV poll, 42% of over 2,500 respondents indicated they would not be returning to the mall, ever.