More bad news for Sears, and others

The inital list of stores Sears plans to close does not include any in Provo. That’s surprising, but Provo should still work to phase out this dying retailer, rather than waiting for it to fail on it’s own.

Additional evidence that the retailer is doomed can be found here, where it was ranked the sixth worst online retailer in the country. While online sales don’t necessarily correlate to local sales (or troubles), this is further evidence that Sears is simply not going to survive. So, again, we need to act preemptively.

On a related note, that list has Gap as the second worst online retailer, and mentions that the company will be closing stores. That means that one or both Utah County malls could be hit by yet another closure. This affords us yet another opportunity to act preemptively, or to do nothing and watch our retail space die.

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3 Comments

Filed under Development, economics, Provo, urban

3 responses to “More bad news for Sears, and others

  1. I may be ignorant, but what value is there for Provo to close the doors on retailers? What if hey come back to life? What if other retailers avoid Provo because of those actions?

    • Thanks so much for the comment!

      I think it’s a good point that empty retail space doesn’t do the city any good. Also, if Sears came back to life, that’d be great. But analysts are extremely pessimistic about Sears. I’m actually hard pressed to think of any big retailer that has generated as much negative press related to its economic prospects. As a result I’m persuaded that it won’t come back. Online retailing, the decline of malls generally, etc. also suggests that Sears isn’t coming back. If there’s some evidence that Sears is poised to make a robust brick and mortar recovery I’d be excited to see it. Unfortunately, I haven’t see it yet.

      Also, as I’ve written several times on this blog, I think the ideal solution is to consolidate the two Utah County malls. It seems like a given that University Mall has failed. At best it seems destined to be like that one mall in or near Holladay that is just a lone Macy’s standing sadly by itself. So, why not bring Macy’s to Provo? Obviously that’s a complex task, but Orem is about to have two empty anchor spaces. Provo has none, but Sears feels empty and is certainly less robust than Macy’s. If Provo can’t convince Macy’s to relocate, I suppose its better to milk Sears for all it’s worth before it dies. Orem obviously won’t like this in the short term, but in the long term I think having one really strong retail space would benefit everyone, and having a dying mall in Orem isn’t good for that city.

      And, of course, all this assumes that both malls aren’t doomed, despite the fact that most urban experts see the concept of the mall in steep decline and on the road to extinction. When or if that generally happens is debatable, but Utah County’s malls both have numerous vacancies and show no signs of improvement. I don’t think that simply wanting them to improve (which I do) is enough.

  2. Pingback: Sears is Staying in Provo | (pro(vo)cation)

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