Sears at Gal­le­ria mall is set to close in Fe­bru­ary

The Herald (Rock Hill) - - Front Page - BY JOHN MARKS jmarks@fort­mill­

One of Rock Hill Gal­le­ria’s an­chor re­tail­ers is clos­ing up shop after all.

Sears Hold­ings in­formed as­so­ci­ates at 40 of its Sears and Kmart stores na­tion­wide on Thurs­day that those sites will be clos­ing in Fe­bru­ary.

The clos­ings in­clude the Sears store on Dave Lyle Boule­vard in Rock Hill at the Rock Hill Gal­le­ria.

The ac­com­pa­ny­ing auto stores at those sites will close, too. Liq­ui­da­tion be­gins next week. The Rock Hill Sears was one of only two Caroli­nas lo­ca­tions on the lat­est list, join­ing a store in Win­ston Salem, N.C.

In mid-Oc­to­ber, the com­pany an­nounced the Kmart on Cherry Road in Rock Hill would close “near the end” of 2018. The moves are part of hun­dreds of Sears and Kmart stores that are clos­ing, as Sears Hold­ings works through bank­ruptcy pro­ceed­ings.

The Kmart site al­ready has been sold to a Char­lotte-based apart­ment and self-stor­age group, Madi­son Cap­i­tal.

The Kmart site sold for $6 mil­lion.

The near­est re­main­ing Sears stores after the Rock Hill clos­ing will be an out­let in Char­lotte and a show­room in Hun­tersville, N.C.

Sears has been an an­chor store at Gal­le­ria since the mall opened in 1991. It joined JCPen­ney and Belk as for­mer Rock Hill Mall an­chors that made the move to Gal­le­ria. The Rock Hill Mall site on Cherry Road was built in the 1960s.

On­line site notes the com­pany opened a Rock Hill store in 1968. The site puts the com­pany in Char­lotte as far back as 1929.

Ef­forts to ob­tain com­ment from mall man­age­ment on the fu­ture of the Sears lo­ca­tion were un­suc­cess­ful.

War­ren Nor­man, devel­op­ment di­rec­tor and bro­ker in charge with the War­ren Nor­man Co., said the Sears clos­ing may not be bad news for the Rock Hill re­tail mar­ket, or even for the Gal­le­ria.

“I ac­tu­ally kind of view this as a good thing,” he said. “It’s prob­a­bly go­ing to al­low some change to the mall, for the good.”

Nor­man’s com­pany doesn’t own the mall, but has de­vel­oped

sev­eral large com­mer­cial projects around it. The Sears clos­ing says more about the re­tailer it­self, he said, than about Rock Hill.

“I don’t re­ally think that what you’re see­ing with large re­tail­ers and clos­ings has much to do with our mar­ket,” Nor­man said. “You’re see­ing that all across the coun­try.”

Along with Sears and Kmart, re­tail­ers like JCPen­ney, Belk, Macy’s, Sam’s Club, Lowe’s and oth­ers have closed stores in re­cent years. While not ev­ery­one in the devel­op­ment in­dus­try agrees on its fu­ture, Nor­man said, it ap­pears the trend will be stores with smaller foot­prints as more shop­pers go on­line.

“It’s not needed like it used to be to have that much floor space,” he said.

As long as peo­ple want to touch prod­ucts be­fore they buy them, Nor­man said, there will be a place for re­tail. There also is a grow­ing place for ser­vice busi­nesses, ho­tels and restau­rants.

“We’ve con­tin­ued to de­velop around the mall,” Nor­man said. “As the in­fra­struc­ture con­tin­ues to get put in place, roads are put in place, the area around the mall will con­tinue to grow up.”

AP file

Sears in brighter days.

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