Since the news broke this morning that Sears is leaving Provo’s Towne Center Mall, my colleague Genelle Pugmire has written a new article with additional information.
Among the more significant bits of information Genelle uncovered was this:
“According to Sears spokeswoman Kim Freely, the closure is not because of poor performance at the store”
Instead, the property owners seem to have voluntarily moved to get rid of Sears.
Of course, Sears is struggling mightily and those struggles certainly opened the company up to offloading it’s retail space. Moreover, few analysts are particularly optimistic about Sears survival as a whole. But Genelle’s article also frames Sears departure as a “strategic acquisition” for the mall’s property owners.
This is both interesting and curious news. I argued in the past that Sears should be pushed out of the Mall in favor of more profitable retail that isn’t likely to go bankrupt, and now it looks like that may actually be what happened. But my feeling has always been that lack of better options would — or should — lead the Towne Center Mall to court Macy’s as a possible tenant.
That may be happening, but I haven’t even heard any rumors to that effect, so perhaps the owners have something else in mind. In any case, I can’t imagine they would have accelerated Sears departure if they didn’t have any alternative plan to make money. After all, if there isn’t someone else coming into the space it would make the most sense to milk Sears for all it’s worth and for as long as possible.
Or maybe this is all corporate spin on what is essentially a dire economic situation: both dying retailers and dying malls. That’s a distinct possibility, but Genelle’s update leads me to believe that the mall property owners at least have something up their sleeves.