Target will close its store in Mondawmin Mall in February. (Kim Hairston/Baltimore Sun video)
Shoppers, neighbors and local lawmakers expressed surprise and disappointment Wednesday that the Target at Mondawmin Mall in West Baltimore would be closing in February.
Since opening in 2008, the store has served as a one-stop shopping center for residents and a convenient resource for people passing through the area on their way to work, but the retailer announced plans Tuesday to close it and several others around the country the company said were underperforming.
“This was a bright spot of the neighborhood,” said Emanuel Evans, after a quick trip to the store Wednesday morning.
Evans said he’s not happy about the store’s closing and worries about what will replace it.
Target spokeswoman Kristy Welker said Tuesday that the decision to close was “not made lightly.” The store employs 134 people and all eligible employees will be offered jobs at other area Targets.
Baltimore City Councilman Leon Pinkett, who represents the area, said he was disappointed that the company didn’t come to the city or state to try to work through whatever problems the store was experiencing.
“We would have at least liked to have had the conversation with Target,” said Pinkett, who worked on the mall’s revitalization plan as a development officer for the Baltimore Development Corp. years ago.
But with competition continually increasing from online shopping, retailers don’t have time to try to turn around a struggling brick-and-mortar store, said Karyl Leggio, a finance professor at Loyola University Maryland.
“The competition is so much bigger than where people can walk to or drive to,” Leggio said. “All those online retailers are really squeezing the margins of companies.”
Retailers often measure a store’s success based on sales compared to last year, and with retailers making deep discounts to move merchandise, even stores that are busy and make a lot of sales may be bringing in less money than in years past, Leggio said.
Still, neighbors said they will be unhappy to see the store go.
“It’s sad,” said Shena Allen, who lives nearby and stopped to pick up a few items before work Wednesday morning. “It’s convenient for us. I don’t see how they’re not making enough here.”
The store has become a staple in Allen’s routine — she stops at least two or three mornings a week and sometimes pops over during her lunch break, too.
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