Sears shutting down Metrocenter store May 6

May 1, 2012

Business, Real Estate

Sears will end its presence as a full-line retailer in Jackson May 6 with the closing of its 240,000 square-foot Metrocenter Mall store.

Liquidation of merchandise has been under way for several weeks and will end |Sunday, a spokeswoman for the national retailer said Monday.

The closing leaves Sears’ with only a handful of small appliance outlets in metro Jackson.

The anchor-store closing is a serious blow to the struggling Metrocenter Mall, the lower floor of which has been shut down and remaining stores concentrated on the upper floor.

Sears was the 34-year-old Metrocenter Mall’s first anchor and will be the last to leave. “Without anchors it’s no longer a mall,” said Nina Holbrook, a executive director of the Metrocenter Area coalition, an organization of business and residents formed 14 years ago to advocate for the mall and the area around it.

Sears had kept traffic coming to the area “and we were building on that,” she said in an interview earlier this year after Sears announced the Jackson store would be among120 Sears and Kmart stores designated for closing.

Jackson Mayor Harvey Johnson had been prepared to offer Sears incentives such as tax abatements to keep the full-service store as the remaining anchor for the aging mall in southwest Jackson .

Sears would not discuss the issue, according to city spokesman Chris Mims.

“They replied to our efforts via letter saying that they would close,” Mims said in an email.

In addition to Sears being a retail mainstay for the U.S. Highway 80 corridor, the store employed 80 or so workers, making it the third largest employer in Ward 5.

Sears owns the two-level building the store had occupied for more than three decades. The retailer has not said what it intends to do with the building, though it has said previously it would consider purchase offers and has not ruled out leasing the space.

Metrocenter owner Shervin Mateen said several months ago it was “very shocking” to learn Sears Holdings had put the Metrocenter anchor on the closing list.

Mall merchants had been reporting improving holiday sales at the time of the announcement, he said.

Mateen, CEO of Cannon Commercial, said his company is considering unconventional uses for the empty space at the mall that could exclude retail. “We’re looking at medical, educational and other uses,” he said in an interview in early January.

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