The Sears store at Glenbrook Square Mall is among 46 so-called “underperforming” stores that will close in November.
On Wednesday Sears Holdings released the latest list of Sears and Kmarts slated to close. Liquidation sales are expect to begin at the end of the month.
The Sears property includes the store and auto center and parking and outlots that stretch all the way out to Coliseum Boulevard on the front and all the way to the ring road surrounding the mall on the side and back. It is owned by Seritage Growth Properties, a publicly traded real estate investment trust that acquired 230 Sears and Kmart properties a few years ago under a sale/leaseback agreement the retailer initiated to raise cash. Some of the new development on outlots on the Coliseum side of the mall — a new Chick-fil-A and a small strip center — are on the Sears/Seritage-owned property.
The BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse that opened in front of Glenbrook last year is also on part of the former Sears property.
Last March, Christian Conville, of Echo Realty in Indianapolis, which represents Seritage, told Business Weekly potential users has already expressed interest in the big box should Sears decide to close the store.
There are limitations on how much of the remaining parking area owned by Seritage can be redeveloped; its agreement with Glenbrook requires a number of spaces be retained for mall users, mall management said.
The Carson’s store at Glenbrook also closed as part of the liquidation of all of the store brands that were part of Bon-Ton Stores. That property is owned by Glenbrook.
In the win column, a new P.F. Chang restaurant is going into the former Abercrombie & Fitch and adjacent space inside the mall, near Barnes & Noble.
Glenbrook itself is about to get a new owner, one known for redeveloping and repurposing mall properties. Brookfield Property, the real estate unit of Toronto-based Brookfield Asset Management Inc., was set to complete its $15 billion acquisition of GGP Inc., known for most of its history as General Growth Properties, this month.
As store closures have accelerated, landlords including Brookfield Property have been focusing on buying and revamping shopping centers to take advantage of the land they occupy in urban areas.
Sears warned when it reported its first fiscal quarter earnings — actually a loss of $3.93 per share — in June that it had identified 100 unprofitable stores that would be closed, but did not immediately identify all of them.
In its announcement Wedneday, Sears said the new round of closings is part of the company’s “ongoing efforts to streamline Sears Holdings’ operations, strengthen our capital position and focus on our best stores. We continue to evaluate our network of stores, which is a critical component to our integrated retail transformation, and will make further adjustments as needed.”
Eligible employees will receive severance and have the chance to apply for openings at other Sears and Kmart stores, the statement said, but they will be hard-pressed to find any. Twenty years ago, Fort Wayne had four Kmarts and two Sears stores; the Glenbrook store is the last one remaining. There are small-format Sears “Hometown Dealer” stores in Columbia City, Kendallville, Angola, Warsaw, Goshen, Plymouth and Van Wert and Bryan, Ohio; but the closest remaining full-service Sears store is in Mishawaka.