The bottom half of this story was inadvertently left out of Thursday’s print edition. Here it is in its entirety. The story has been updated to reflect new information.
Macy’s says it is eliminating more than 10,000 jobs and plans to close 68 stores by midyear — including the Kelso location and another Washington store in Everett — after a disappointing holiday shopping season.
The 51,000-square-foot Kelso store opened in the Three Rivers Mall in 1987 and employs 57 people. Macy’s expects to close the store by early spring or mid-2017.
The store’s closure leaves J.C. Penney as the only one of four original anchor stores in the mall, which has come to be dominated by smaller shops and the giant 12-screen Regal movie theater.
The closures came as a surprise to Kelso-Longview Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Bill Marcum.
“I reached out to Linda (DiLembo, the mall’s manager) to see what the chamber can do to help,” Marcum said by phone Wednesday. “It seemed like the mall was going in the right direction. There were more people coming to the mall, especially with the theater and Sportsman’s (warehouse). This is obviously something that is not good for our community.”
Three Rivers Mall owners, Rouse Properties, tried to stay positive about the closure.
“Macy’s decision to close its location at Three Rivers Mall is part of its larger plan to reduce its footprint nationwide. We are excited to recapture this prime anchor box and look forward to keeping with our strong track record of filling vacancies with best-in-class retailers, as we did with Regal Cinemas and Sportsman’s Warehouse, who are well-received by the Kelso community,” the mall owners in a prepared statement.
Kelso City Manager Steve Taylor said he was sad to lose Macy’s and said it would mean less sales and B&O taxes for the city, as well as less foot traffic for the mall.
“If there’s a silver lining to any cloud, any time that you have these types of events happen, it does present an opportunity for another viable retailer for our market to establish a base,” he said.
He said that was the case when Sportsman’s Warehouse filled in the long-vacant space once taken up by the Emporium and when the new Regal cinema took over the space left by Sears. He said he’s also looking forward to Panera Bread coming the mall.
Taylor said Macy’s departure has more to do with competition with online retailers than it does with Kelso.
“This is a pretty significant restructuring for Macy’s, and it’s impacting communities large and small. If this was just closing the Kelso store, I think that would give Kelso a more negative image. This has more to do with Macy’s than it does with Kelso.”
Shoppers Linda and Sonny Mettler, a Chehalis couple who prefer shopping at the Kelso Macy’s to the one in Olympia, were disappointed but not surprised by the announcement when they learned of it at the mall Wednesday.
“I can understand why they would have to close this one, because it doesn’t look like there’s a lot of people promoting it. But I heard too that the online stuff is going crazy and that’s why brick-and-mortar stores are closing. But it takes out a whole group of people that can only shop by shopping in stores versus on the web,” Linda Mettler said.
She added: “I’m not too surprised because I know this mall has had trouble. And it’s on a good location, and I don’t understand it. I never have understood it.”
Shopper Jana Lunday of Castle Rock called the Macy’s closure “sad for our community and sad for the mall. ... I’ve heard rumors about it, and I’ve been down at the mall — there’s nobody here.”
“It’s going to put 57 people out of work, and you know the trickle-down.”
Macy’s Inc., which also owns Bloomingdales, is the world’s largest fashion goods retailer and the 36th largest retailer overall, with more than 880 stores in 45 states. The closures of 68 stories announced Wednesday are part of a closure of 100 stores announced in August. The company also plans to restructure parts of its business and sell some properties. The moves are estimated to save $550 million annually.