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Macy's at the Berkshire Mall is closing with a liquidation sale to begin Monday.
Updated January 06, 2016 04:39PM

Macy's at the Berkshire Mall Will Close

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LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — The Berkshire Mall is about to take another hit with the closure of Macy's in the next couple months.

Employees were reportedly told on Wednesday that the store would close after nine years. A formal announcement is expected Thursday. Macy's reported the closure in a release on its website on Wednesday afternoon.

iBerkshires also has reached out to the mall's owners and Macy's for confirmation.

Macy's, with nearly 800 locations, is the largest department store by sales in the nation. But it's been battered over the last year by dropping sales and declining foot traffic at malls. It has closed 52 stores in the past five years, although opening 12 new ones, and indicated it would close another 40 in the early part of January.

"In light of our disappointing 2015 sales and earnings performance, we are making adjustments to become more efficient and productive in our operations," said Terry J. Lundgren, chairman and chief executive officer of Macy's Inc., in the release.

Thirty-six stores will be closed by early spring, with four other stores closed this past fall. Macy's said associates may be offered jobs at other stores (the closest are in the Springfield and Albany, N.Y., area) and eligible workers will be offered severance benefits. The Eastfield Mall in Springfield is among those closing.

According to CNN Money, these weaker stores "account for 1 percent of total sales, even though they make up more than 5 percent of Macy's locations." Like many brick and mortar chains, Macy's was also hit by a surge in online buying, up 20 percent this holiday season.

The chain's last quarterly report noted sales had dropped over three consecutive quarters, with the third quarter down 5.2 percent over the same time last year.

The Macy's space in the Berkshire Mall initially had been filled by Steiger's, one of the mall's founding anchors, until Steiger's sold its stores to Filene's in 1994. It transitioned to Macy's in 2006.

The contents of the store are expected to be liquidated over the coming months with the exception of some products, such as cosmetics and fragrances. Clearance sales are expected to begin on Monday, Jan. 11, and run between eight to 12 weeks.

The loss of Macy's as an anchor is troubling for the mall, which saw the departure of Best Buy at the end of October.

The mall is the largest commercial property for the town of Lanesborough but Town Manager Paul Sieloff says he has no concerns about its future. At the time of his statements, however, he hadn't heard that Macy's was in fact closing. He cited Target spending more than $1 million to upgrade its space and the Regal Cinemas investing some $2 million in recent years.

"Because of those investments that were made, I don't have concerns about the mall," Sieloff said. "We monitor it and watch out for it. ... But, I do not lose any sleep over it. I just hope the economy improves."

Sieloff said the Best Buy closure was a surprise but changes in tenants can be expected in any shopping center. He said various store closings have been a reoccurring rumor.

"The mall is a real rumor mill," he said. "It's amazing how often that starts churning."

Updated with information from Macy's press release.

Tags: Berkshire Mall,   store closings,   

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