The Macy’s store in Country Club Plaza will close in early spring, shuttering a department store building that has served as an anchor in the Arden Arcade mall for more than five decades.
Macy’s Inc. announced Wednesday that the store at Watt and El Camino avenues is one of 36 to close nationwide, including two others in California, as part of what the company characterized as a series of cost-efficiency and process improvement measures.
“Our company is committed to operating great Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s stores in the best locations – both to serve shoppers who walk through the door and to fulfill orders that are shipped directly to customers around the country,” Terry J. Lundgren, chairman and chief executive officer of Macy’s Inc., said in a news release. “In today’s rapidly evolving retail environment, it is essential that we maintain a portfolio of the right stores in the right places.”
Lundgren said Macy’s Inc. will add stores selectively while closing stores that are unproductive or “no longer robust shopping destinations because of changes in the local retail shopping landscape.”
Macy’s owns the 166,000-square-foot building that houses the Country Club Plaza store. The department store opened as a Weinstock’s in 1961 and did not become a Macy’s until 1996 after the Weinstock’s chain was sold to Macy’s parent corporation.
The Country Club Plaza store employs 111 people, according to the news release. Macy’s plans to start a final clearance sale at the store Monday and close the location eight to 12 weeks later.
Carl Dolk, an Arden Arcade activist, and Sacramento County Supervisor Susan Peters, who represents the area, said they hated to see Macy’s close.
“It’s horribly disappointing,” Peters said. But whenever one retail outlet closes, she said, it is an opportunity for another one to come in.
Peters said the county has been working closely with Country Club Plaza’s owners on a revitalization effort and will work with anyone seeking to lease or purchase the Macy’s building.
Changes have been in the works for Country Club Plaza. Cinema West, a Petaluma theater chain, has signed a lease at Country Club and hopes to open a 13-screen theater there sometime in 2016. WinCo Foods also is slated to build a 90,000-square-foot store at the mall.
A group led by EDM Realty Corp. of San Francisco bought the mall in 2014. At the time, the mall was only about 30 percent leased. That figure did not include Macy’s, which isn’t considered a tenant because it owns its own building.
On Tuesday, beyond Macy’s and Sport Chalet, Country Club Plaza had many vacancies in a mall once filled with popular stores. The handful of remaining retailers included an alterations store, art gallery and massage business.
Scott Reynolds, a retail broker with Scott Reynolds Commercial Real Estate, said the Macy’s announcement may actually benefit the center in the long run.
“I think Country Club has had its challenges and some of them have been caused by Macy’s, which has been reticent to allow changes there.
“Them being gone may work out helping them do the redevelopment at that property that is needed.”
While Reynolds said the closure may help the new owner redevelop the mall, he noted it will be tough to find a new retailer to take up three stories of Macy’s space.
“I’d probably tear it down,” he said of the building.
Mall owners greeted word of Macy’s closure with enthusiasm.
“It’s fantastic news,” said Jerry Wise of Brad Management, a Southern California-based partner in the mall. “Macy’s wasn’t doing any business. Now we will get someone who will do business.”
Wise said he did not know whether mall owners would seek to purchase the Macy’s building.
A WinCo Foods store is under construction, and Sacramento County officials confirmed that they have received a use permit application for a theater complex.
Wise said he expects WinCo and the 13-screen theater to open by summer. He said the mall owners have commitments for all exterior spaces at the center, although he declined to name the firms. He said the center will offer a combination of retail, restaurants and entertainment.
Although Country Club Plaza has lost many of its tenants since the Gottschalks store closed with the collapse of the department store chain in 2009, the Macy’s closure surprised some longtime shoppers who still have fond memories. That includes Lynette Raulein, a Curtis Park resident.
“I got my wedding dress and my mother’s dress there four years ago,” she said. “We went with a Hawaiian theme and they had the best selection of Hawaiian sundresses.”
Raulein said she would be more distressed if Macy’s closed its Arden Fair or downtown Sacramento stores, which she also frequents.
The two other California Macy’s scheduled to close this spring are located in Irvine and Los Angeles, though Macy’s plans to replace the Los Angeles location with a larger store in 2017.