Since the beginning of this blog I’ve been saying the Provo Sears was extremely likely to close, and now that has finally come to pass.
That link goes to a Daily Herald article indicating that the Provo location of the erstwhile retail giant is on the list of 11 stores slated to close sometime next year. This news, of course, is bad for Provo’s Towne Center Mall, which even during the high-volume holiday shopping season already seemed underused.
On top of the bad news about Provo’s mall, this week also happens to be the last time shoppers can visit the Nordstrom in Orem’s University Mall. According to this article, it will close Friday.
None of these developments are good news for city sales tax, mall usage, and a variety of other factors. Though the University Mall is supposedly pursuing new tenants for the Nordstrom space, there have been no announcements about who that tenant might be and I cannot imagine that those efforts will be successful. After all, wouldn’t Orem have already brought any willing company into the vacant Mervyn’s space?
The bright ray of hope is that one of these cities doesn’t have to lose its mall, though both are unlikely to survive. With two empty anchor spaces, Orem’s University Mall already appears to have failed.
The obvious solution — as I have already argued here — is to bring Orem’s one department store into Provo’s one department store vacancy; it’s like a perfect jigsaw puzzle that for the time being would at least prevent Utah County from having two dead malls.
Is this an ideal solution for both cities? No, of course not. But to assume that a mall with a 66 percent anchor vacancy rate is going to survive is wishful thinking. To assume that Provo’s mall can get by in the longterm without filling it’s upcoming vacancy is also wishful thinking. So as I see it, really the only solution is consolidation.
(Click here to read other posts about Sears.)