BLUEFIELD, W.Va. — The manager of the Mercer Mall says he was not surprised with last week’s announcement by Sears that it’s closing its anchor store there.
“I think that this is just part of the saturation of retail and it’s just working its way out,” Dennis McCallister told MetroNews.
Currently the Mercer Mall has four other anchor stores: Belk, JC Penney, Roses and Hobby Lobby. There are 66 tenants total and McCallister said they’ve weathered an anchor store going out of business before.
“We’ve had anchor stores that have left and been empty before starting with Montgomery Ward. We’ve always been able to find someone to fill the space,” said the manager.
In fact earlier this year, Hobby Lobby filled one of those anchor store slots and has been doing good business. That’s something McCallister can’t say about Sears.
“I don’t think (losing Sears) will have a whole lot of impact on traffic. Sears had cut down on their inventory in this store so much that people were getting frustrated going in and not finding what they wanted,” according to the manager.
The Sears announcement will impact 64 employees. The store will shut its doors for good Dec 7. Their liquidation sale begins later this month. It’s part of a corporate-wide restructuring to help make the company more profitable.
McCallister said as for filling Sears spot, he’s not too worried.
“We’ll start, whenever we get the official word, start talking to people,” he said.
Sears announced back in April that it planned to close stores that weren’t making money. However, at that time they did not release which locations would be impacted.