Macy’s closings could leave a trail of dead malls

Macy’s plans to close nearly 40 stores could be a death knell for many malls that are already on the brink.

At least a dozen of those stores are in malls that are already troubled by store closings and declining sales.

“How difficult is it to replace Macy’s? It’s almost impossible,” said Howard Davidowitz, chairman of Davidowitz & Associates, a retail consulting and investment firm.

He said Macy’s (M) was smart to identify its weak stores and to “do what you got to do.” But the malls left behind are going to have a tough time surviving without the legendary retailer.

“The department store business, it’s the worst segment in retailing,” said Davidowitz. “It’s the highest cost operator, they’re not growing, and they’re in a world where the customer is looking for a great deal.”

 

He said that some malls might be able to convert to other purposes, like hospitals, condos or corporate offices. But that kind of change is a lengthy and expensive process, and the mall is likely to sit abandoned during the transition, as a so-called dead mall.

In California, Google (GOOG)opened its Google Glass offices in a former shopping mall.

Macy’s decided to close a raft of stores after weak holiday sales. The company is also cutting more than 4,000 jobs.

Many of the malls where it’s closing are losing lots of other tenants, according to local news reports. 

 

Macy’s Store Closings

Final clearance sales at the following Macy’s stores closing in early 2016 will begin on Monday, Jan. 11 and run for between eight to 12 weeks (with the exception of Westfield Century City, North DeKalb Mall and Roseburg Valley Mall, where final clearance sales are already in progress):

 

  • Irvine Spectrum, Irvine, CA (140,000 square feet; opened in 2002; 112 associates);
  • Country Club Plaza, Sacramento, CA (165,000 square feet; opened in 1961; 111 associates);
  • Westfield Century City, Los Angeles, CA (136,000 square feet; opened in 1976; 108 associates). Note that this store will be closed in January 2016 and replaced with a new, larger store to open in this same shopping center in spring 2017;
  • Enfield Square main store, Enfield, CT (166,000 square feet; opened in 1971; 84 associates);
  • Enfield Square furniture/home/men’s store, Enfield, CT (76,000 square feet; opened in 1971; 20 associates);
  • North DeKalb Mall, Decatur, GA (190,000 square feet; opened in 1965; 89 associates);
  • Kailua, HI (59,000 square feet; opened in 1946; 57 associates);
  • Palouse Mall, Moscow, ID (41,000 square feet; opened in 1979; 47 associates);
  • Northwoods Mall, Peoria, IL (165,000 square feet; opened in 1985; 62 associates);
  • Cortana Mall, Baton Rouge, LA (243,000 square feet; opened in 1976; 108 associates);
  • Valley Mall, Hagerstown, MD (120,000 square feet; opened in 1999; 59 associates);
  • Berkshire Mall, Lanesborough, MA (111,000 square feet; opened in 1994; 58 associates);
  • Eastfield Mall, Springfield, MA (127,000 square feet; opened in 1994; 71 associates);
  • The Shoppes at Stadium, Columbia, MO (140,000 square feet; opened in 2003; 81 associates);
  • Middlesex Mall, South Plainfield, NJ (81,000 square feet; opened in 1976; 69 associates);
  • McKinley Mall main store, Buffalo, NY (88,000 square feet; opened in 1989; 65 associates);
  • McKinley Mall home store, Buffalo, NY (31,000 Square feet; opened in 1989; 10 associates);
  • Arnot Mall, Horsehead, NY (120,000 square feet; opened in 1995; 79 associates);
  • Hudson Valley Mall, Kingston, NY (121,000 square feet; opened in 1995; 72 associates);
  • Eastern Hills Mall, Williamsville, NY (127,000 square feet; opened in 1971; 80 associates);
  • Cary Towne Center, Cary, NC (107,000 square feet; opened in 1991; 63 associates);
  • Chapel Hill Mall, Akron, OH (169,000 square feet; opened in 1967; 91 associates);
  • Midway Mall, Elyria, OH (105,000 square feet; opened in 1990; 64 associates);
  • Quail Springs Mall, Oklahoma City, OK (146,000 square feet; opened in 1986; 87 associates);
  • Pony Village Mall, North Bend, OR (41,000 square feet; opened in 1980; 54 associates);
  • Roseburg Valley Mall, Roseburg, OR (40,000 square feet; opened in 1980; 59 associates);
  • Suburban Square, Ardmore, PA (102,000 square feet; opened in 1930; 74 associates);
  • Century III Mall, West Mifflin, PA (173,000 square feet; opened in 1979; 101 associates);
  • Ridgmar Mall, Ft. Worth, TX (181,000 square feet; opened in 1998; 92 associates);
  • Chesapeake Square, Chesapeake, VA (95,000 square feet; opened in 1999; 69 associates);
  • Virginia Center Commons, Glen Allen, VA (110,000 square feet; opened in 1993; 81 associates);
  • Peninsula Town Center, Hampton, VA (173,000 square feet; opened in 1977; 109 associates);
  • Military Circle Mall, Norfolk, VA (153,000 square feet; opened in 1976; 95 associates);
  • Regency Square main store, Richmond, VA (100,000 square feet; opened in 1990; 100 associates);
  • Regency Square furniture/home/men’s store, Richmond, VA (124,000 square feet; opened in 1990; 35 associates);
  • Downtown Spokane, Spokane, WA (374,000 square feet; opened in 1947; 94 associates).
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