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.

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  • pc

    Mercer County, Bluefield-Princeton, has been rumored to possibly be on the radar (and has apparently been seeking) of the likes of Target and Home Depot. A Target store at the mall location would be midway between both cities, and have the ability to draw customers from neighboring Virginia Counties (the closest Target stores are in Blacksburg, Va, and possibly Charleston, Sourthridge). Of course, the mall management would have to be willing to lease the space at a price attractive enough for Target to consider coming in.

  • Mark Halburn

    If you don't have product to sell, people can't buy. Retail 101. Hopefully another store will come in soon. They should stock the store for Christmas sales and close in January. Laying people off before Christmas is evil.

  • Larry Ellister

    I'm afraid this is just another blow in the slow death of the City of Bluefield. What you have seen transpire in Welch is now making its way up Rt. 52 to Bluefield. Consider that Bluefield, West Virginia has seen Wendys, Arbys, Shoneys and Kroger all close their Bluefield locations. Also consider that Bluefield, WV does not have a single seemingly ubiquitous national chain drugstore (i.e. CVS, RiteAid, Walgreens) within its boundaries. Sadly the town is dying and those (former) citizens whose families were the economic engines behind the town in the past have all sold out their family businesses and moved south. Other than the Cole family none of the locals are re-investing back into the community.

    • Ron from Morgantown

      That's terrible . Usually national chains will tough it out to the bitter end . They never want to close because it looks bad for the brand . Is Bluefield Va in any better shape ? Revitalization without private investment can be tough . Sometime federal intervention can help . Maybe a federal prison for example . Bluefield is so far south that many in our state forget about them . Most think of Beckley but not Bluefield .

      • Larry

        When you consider it, Bluefield and Morgantown are alike in some ways, like being situated at the far end of the state and identifying more with their neighboring state than the rest of WV, but very different in their economic growth, due primarily to WVU being in Morgantown.

        • Vinnie

          Thanks Captain Obvious. You really think WVU makes that much difference?

    • Larry

      That's too bad, the area around Bluefield is a very scenic one.

      • Expatriot

        Right. It is beautiful and the views from the major highways are not spoiled by mines or slag. Gotta get some type of industry there. We are black listed due to our union past. If we could create the same labor atmosphere as in SC, Tenn., ALA. etc, then WV would grow. I know exes are afraid that if they invest, then within the year the unions will move in. A non union job in a car factory is better than no job in a coal mine.