Macy’s at Dover Mall survives for now

 

DOVER — The Macy’s store at the Dover Mall survived the cutting block on Wednesday as the company announced plans to close 68 of its locations in 2017.

However, that doesn’t necessarily mean the Dover Macy’s is completely out of the woods just yet.

Macy’s Inc. announced the 68 store closures are just a part of the 100 closings it said it was preparing to make last August, meaning there are still 32 more stores that will be added to the list.

Macy’s said it intends to close around 30 additional stores “over the next few years as leases or operating covenants expire or sale transactions are completed.”

Macy’s became one of the anchor tenants at the Dover Mall on Sept. 9, 2006, when the mall’s Strawbridge’s store was converted to Macy’s.

Besides the Dover location, Macy’s also has stores in Delaware at Christiana Mall and Concord Mall. Neither one of them were on the closing list, either.

The store closings will eliminate around 3,900 jobs and a subsequent company-wide restructuring will mean the loss of an additional 6,200 associate positions.

Terry J. Lundgren, chairman and CEO of Macy’s, said that streamlining the company’s operations should help position it for a brighter future, particularly when it comes to the digital marketplace.

“It is essential that we maintain a healthy portfolio of the right stores in the right places,” Mr. Lundgren said in a press release. “Our plan to close approximately 100 stores over the next few years is an important part of our strategy to help us right-size our physical footprint as we expand our digital reach.

“We are closing locations that are unproductive or are no longer robust shopping destinations due to changes in the local retail shopping landscape, as well as monetizing locations with highly valued real estate.”

He added, “These are never easy decisions, and we are committed to treating associates affected by these closings with respect and transparency.”

Macy’s officials estimate the upcoming store closures should generate annual expense savings of around $550 million, beginning in 2017, which will enable the company to invest an additional $250 million toward growing the digital business.

Of the 68 Macy’s stores that will be closed, three were closed last summer, 63 will be closed in early spring this year and two will be closed in mid-2017.

Four new Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s are planned to open by fall 2019 as well as new stores in Abu Dhabi and Kuwait.

Macy’s Inc. operates around 880 stores in 45 states as well as Washington, D.C., Guam and Puerto Rico under the names of Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, Bloomindale’s Outlet, Macy’s Backstage and Bluemercury.

The company said that sales at its stores declined by more than two percent in November and December compared to the same time frame in 2015.

“We continue to experience declining traffic in our stores where the majority of our business is still transacted,” Mr. Lundgren said. “Given the overall trends challenging us and the broader retail industry, and the time needed to execute new strategies, we expect our 2017 change in comparable sales to be relatively consistent with our November/December sales trend.

“Whether it is improving corporate agility, enhancing our customer engagement strategies, or continuing to capitalize on the potential value of our real estate assets, we remain focused on the actions that will ultimately improve our financial results and provide the greatest return for our shareholders.”

Sears also on shaky ground

Meanwhile, Sears — which was one of the original three anchor stores at the Dover Mall when it opened in 1982 – announced a second wave of store closures of its own on Wednesday.

The company plans to shut down 108 Kmart stores and 42 Sears stores by April, according to Business Insider.

The Sears location at the Dover Mall was not on the list of anticipated store closures that was obtained by Business Insider.

Delaware State News staff writer Mike Finney can be reached at mfinney@newszap.com.

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