Clearance sales at the Macy’s at Chapel Hill Mall in Akron begin Monday. And as WKSU’s Kabir Bhatia reports, the vacancy it will leave behind, along with other store closings, has some people concerned about the future.
Macy’s announced last week it is closing 36 stores nationwide. That’s about five percent of its stores, and the location at Chapel Hill is among the bottom five percent of Macy’s, sales-wise. The mall itself entered receivership in 2014.
Rakesh Niraj is a professor of marketing at Case Western Reserve University, and he says replacing one of Chapel Hill’s three anchors will not be easy.
“There is no obvious prospect to replace Macy's in the short-term. They obviously will try the entire spectrum. I am pretty sure there is not a big queue out of the mall management office to see who will get in.”
Niraj also says the Macy’s closure is not a reflection on the company so much as it is on the traditional mall, which is being displaced by outdoor centers like Legacy Village and Crocker Park.
“Malls are still coming up, but they may be more unique-experience-oriented malls. So the Chapel Hills of the world, in some ways, are sort of old news. They were new and swanky a couple of decades ago, but now the run-of-the-mill mall definitely feels like [is] on its way out.”
Since Macy’s announcement, Chapel Hill also learned that it would lose its Express, Old Navy and Aeropostale stores – the latter in a large space that was once a five-screen General Cinema. Macy's is also closing its location at Midway Mall in Elyria. Both Midway Mall and Chapel Hill opened in the mid-1960s, and include a JCPenney and Sears.