Thursday, October 30, 2014

Are Bay Area malls doomed with the inevitable closing of Sears?

There isn’t any chance that Sears can survive in its current state. So how will its closure affect Bay Area malls? We are no strangers to department store consolidations and liquidations. Bullock’s, Liberty House, Emporium-Capwell, Montgomery Ward, Mervyn’s all have come and gone. History has shown that some malls fail and some thrive with change. Former anchor spaces have been converted to new department stores, cinemas, and inline stores. One thing is for sure though; malls will never be the same without Sears.

I predict a small number of malls will falter in the region. Antioch’s Somersville Towne Center is at risk. The former Gottschalk’s is still empty and the former Mervyn’s is now a Fallas Parades (anyone heard of them?). Macerich, the mall’s former owner, sold the property in May of 2014.

Fairfield’s Solano Town Center is also at risk because the once 5-anchor store property will now have just two anchors. Seems like a good opportunity for Macy’s to open a second location.

Santa Rosa Plaza, while the most upscale mall in the region, will be down to one anchor store. Half the former Mervyn’s site is still empty.

Richmond’s Hilltop Mall is always a risk (the mall is in receivership).

Northgate Mall is a risk, but if the existing cinema replaced Sears, then the former cinema space would be returned to retail. This could really be an opportunity.

Some malls may actually do better without Sears. It’s not unusual to see foot traffic die off near a Sears stores today, so replacing them with something more viable would be an improvement. Those malls include Sunvalley Mall, Southland Mall, Newpark Mall, Stoneridge Mall, Roseville Galleria, Arden Fair Mall, Northgate Mall, and West Valley Mall.

Now if JC Penney were to close some of these locations, malls would be in real trouble.

Sears locations


Shopping Mall


Macy’s, Fallas, and an empty anchor (former Gottschalks)
Macy’s, Target, and Kohl’s
Citrus Heights
Two Macy’s and JC Penney
Two Macy’s and JC Penney
Macy’s and JC Penney (also scheduled to close)
Macy’s, JC Penney, and cinema. Former Mervyn’s now a Sports Authority and Forever 21.
Macy’s, JC Penney, and Kohl’s
Two Macy’s, JC Penney, and Forever 21
Macy’s, JC Penney, Burlington Coat Factory, and an empty anchor (former Target)
Two Macy’s, Nordstrom, and JC Penney
Macy’s, JC Penney, and Walmart
Nordstrom, Macy’s, JC Penney
Nordstrom, Macy’s, and JC Penney
San Bruno
Target and JC Penney
San Jose
Macy’s and JC Penney
San Jose
Macy’s and Target
San Mateo
Nordstrom, Macy’s
San Rafael
Macy’s and Kohl’s
Santa Rosa
Macy’s and half-empty anchor (former Mervyn’s)
Dillard’s and JC Penney
Macy’s, Target, JC Penney, and cinema


Brother Herbert said...

Since Antioch's mall (don't care what they call it now, it'll always be County East Mall to me) started off as a quaint outdoor mall that was roofed over in the late 80s/early 90s, there's probably little room to modernize. And with the new mile-long, you-name-it-it's-there shopping area just down the road in Brentwood/Oakley, its purpose is probably no longer relevant.

It would be a shame to close the Northgate Sears since it somehow escaped modernization efforts and still has its original red block-letter exterior signage from when the store opened in the 70s.

I disagree with you about the Sears at Sunvalley though. Sunvalley seems to be thriving and the Sears there is one of the better ones in the region. The upper level is huge and the lower level still has all the little service departments such as optical and hearing aids and the same watch repair guy I've been going to for decades.

Now the Sears at the Bayshore Mall in Eureka...that one's a joke and I'm amazed it didn't close years ago. Small single-level store, no service departments except auto, closes when the mall does at 8 pm most nights.

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