Valley View Mall’s owners said Thursday they were in talks to fill the vacancy created by the closing of the La Crosse Macy’s location.
The 110,000-square-foot store has 57 employees and was among the 68 closings announced Wednesday by Macy’s. Preit, the real estate company that owns Valley View Mall, released the statement in response to the closings.
In the short statement, Preit CEO Joseph Coradino said the company is in discussions with an unnamed department store to locate at the mall. He said he planned to make a more detailed announcement in the near future.
“Demand for the Macy’s spaces is robust with new opportunities situated in desirable locations in quality, high barrier-to-entry markets,” Coradino said. “We are in the process of finalizing transactions to control the real estate in two of the three locations and are negotiating terms on the third.”
Shoppers at the mall Thursday were disappointed by the store’s closing. Anastasia and Brent Keenan of Viroqua were returning some shoes they received as a gift, and Anastasia said Macy’s was her go-to for clothing and makeup.
She said she preferred the department store’s styles for clothing items such as dresses and with sensitive skin, liked that she could find her favorite brand of makeup there. She said she hopes any new department store brought in would have similar offerings.
“I really like their makeup,” she said. “I get it all here. I don’t know where I am going to go.”
According to the statement, Valley View Mall holds a dominant position in the retail market and draws customers from a 50-mile area. The mall boasts a strong lineup of tenants, with solid occupancy numbers and reported sales of about $400 per square foot as of September of last year.
Macy’s officials said the closings were designed to streamline the company’s store portfolio, intensify cost efficiency efforts and are part of the company’s real estate strategy. Along with the closings, the company announced it would reorganize the field structure of remaining stores to improve customer experiences and reduce expenses.
Company officials provided a few new details Thursday, saying the La Crosse Macy’s would close within the next 10 to 12 weeks. Clearance sales will begin next week and the company said there could be opportunities for employees affected to relocate to other nearby Macy’s locations, receive severance and participate in virtual job fairs. The two closest Macy’s unaffected by the closings are located in Rochester, Minn., and Madison.
La Crosse shoppers Brenna Grotegut and Brandon Bird lamented the fact they felt stores like Macy’s were being put out of business by online retailers. While no La Crosse location was affected, Sears Holdings announced 150 Sears and Kmart store closings on Wednesday, as that retailer also struggles to turn a profit in the retail economy.
Grotegut said Macy’s closing was a pretty big deal for her, but she felt like a lot of stores are closing. She prefers to shop online, but Bird said he liked going into a store so he can check out the products in person.
“I buy from Amazon,” he said. “But if I want clothing or cologne I go to a department store.”