The shake-up of the Laurel Mall ahead of its ultimate transformation by developer and part owner Greenberg Gibbons Commercial into the Laurel Town Centre received an added nudge Jan. 4 from Macy's Inc., which announced it will close by early this spring the store it has operated in the mall since 1981.
The store closure, one of five announced by the commercial retailer nationwide, comes as part of an effort to "selectively prune underperforming locations," the announcement said.
"We continue to be committed to maintaining a healthy portfolio of stores that allows us to focus on growth from our best and most productive locations," said Terry Lundgren, the retailer's chairman, president and chief executive officer, in the statement. "This requires us to make some difficult decisions to close stores that no longer meet our performance requirements, as well as to open stores where we see opportunity."
The same announcement named five new Macy's stores to be opened elsewhere in the country.
According to Tom Fitzpatrick, president and chief operating officer for Greenberg Gibbons, Macy's announcement did not come as a surprise.
"We have been aware that Macy's was leaving the Laurel Mall as part of its plan to close several stores across the country," Fitzpatrick said in a statement. "This does not change our approach and we are continuing to finalize our development plans to create a vibrant new town center for Laurel."
Previous artist renderings from the company had shown Macy's at the center of that town center, the construction of which will displace the remaining tenants of the mall as well.
While Laurel Mayor Craig Moe successfully asked Greenberg Gibbons to delay demolition of the mall until after the holidays, that demolition is now on the horizon.
Fitzpatrick said Greenberg Gibbons has been in "continual communication" with the mall's tenants during the past year about their plans, and that the company will "certainly honor" the 30 to 90-day lease agreements those tenants hold with the company.
"For businesses that want to stay local," Fitzpatrick added in his statement, "there is a variety of nearby retail space that is available where they can relocate."
For shoppers, final clearance sales at Macy's will begin on Jan. 8 and run for about 10 weeks, according to the company's statement.
The store has 76 sales associates.