Some Malls Could Benefit From Sears Closure

by Erica Peterson on December 27, 2011

More than 100 Sears and K-Mart stores around the nation will close, the retailer has announced . It’s not yet known whether the large Sears stores at Oxmoor Center or Jefferson Mall will be affected.

Both Oxmoor and Jefferson Mall have four so-called anchors: big box stores with nearby parking and visible signage. In both shopping centers, Sears is one of those anchors.

Malachy Kavanagh of the International Council of Shopping Centers says anchors are designed to draw people into the mall, which is something Sears hasn’t been doing very well as of late. The company has reported 19 straight quarters—nearly five years—of sales declines. So Kavanagh says it may be in a mall’s best interest to have another retailer instead.

“So once they stopped serving that purpose, it doesn’t help the center,” he said. “So if you can replace them with someone who’s got that ability to drive customers in, your overall center is going to improve.”

He says malls left with vacant anchors have a few options. They can find another large retailer to fill the space, they can tear the store down and replace it with other draws—like restaurants—or they can divide it up to make it more attractive to small and mid-size retailers.

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