PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — This month, it’s Macy’s, but hardly a month goes by without some large department store shutting some doors.
Kohl’s, J.C. Penney, Sears and Kmart are among the most recent.
“I think that the shakeout will continue,” says commercial realtor Matt Schaefer.
After Macy’s announced the closing of 68 stores, including four near us at the Beaver Valley Mall in Monaca, the Washington Crown Center in Washington, the Shenango Valley Mall in Hermitage and the Ft. Steuben Mall in Steubenville, Ohio, Sears says it will close 150 stores including Sears stores in Shenango Valley Mall and Uniontown Mall in Uniontown and Kmart’s in Monroeville and Mt. Pleasant.
So what’s going on?
“Most notably would be the shift in shopping patterns away from the traditional shopping mall and towards the more value and discount-oriented retailers that you find in power centers,” says Schaefer, who has represented shopping malls.
Those power centers are the Walmart’s, Marshall’s, Ross, and Targets that offer cheaper prices than department stores and often stand alone or are in a strip mall, says Schaefer.
And blame the internet, too.
“People shifting and doing a lot of their shopping off the internet has impacted them as well,” he said.
The 2016 holiday season saw an 11 percent increase in online shopping, now an incredible $91.7 billion in sales.
Walk-in department stores took the hit.
Across America, more than 700 department stores have closed in the last three years.
Experts say a lot depends on location.
In this region, Ross Park Mall, South Hills Village, the Mall at Robinson and Monroeville Mall are all considered to be relatively healthy, but don’t be surprised if a department store closes even there in the years ahead.
Most of the recent closings are in outlying smaller towns, but the future of large department stores everywhere is in doubt, says Schaefer.
“I think they’ll still have a place, but it won’t be as prominent as it once was,” he said.