HEMPFIELD TOWNSHIP (KDKA) — The announcement this week that Dressbarn stores are closing across the nation was another blow to the Westmoreland Mall in Hempfield Township.
Relative to other malls in the region, or in the United States in general, Westmoreland Mall seems to be doing OK, but the establishment is showing signs of the same malady hitting malls everywhere — empty storefronts.
“Oh, I’ve noticed it a lot, and it kind of frightens me because this is really the only local shopping mall that we have,” Latrobe resident Pat Kubistek said.
“A lot have closed, Sears, Charlotte Russe, stores that I shop at. It’s upsetting,” shopper Rianna Elatrache said.
Over the last 18 months, several stores have closed up for good at Westmoreland Mall. Payless ShoeSource, Sears, Helzberg’s Diamonds, Gymboree and Charlotte Russe have all shuttered, and this week, Dressbarn announced it was going out of business.
“That’s such a shame. To have merchandise at a really good price, especially for working women, and now that’s going to be gone, too,” Kubistek said.
One-time anchor store Bon-Ton is being replaced by a mini-casino. The mall’s ownership group, CBL Properties, has said in the past the mini-casino will change the game when it comes to the mall’s future.
While they are losing some stores, Westmoreland Mall and its management have adapted to the new way of retail shopping in America. Restaurants are going in, and they will have the casino.
You only need to travel an hour away from Westmoreland Mall to find a mall that hasn’t adapted and is vacant for the most part.
Once the jewel in the crown of shopping meccas in western Pennsylvania malls, Century III Mall in Pleasant Hills is a veritable retail ghost town.
KDKA reached out to Westmoreland Mall’s management group for comment on the stores closing and is awaiting a reply.
As for ways to keep Westmoreland Mall relevant, Elatrache has some ideas.
“Maybe new stores or more promotions or more things going on. No one wants to leave the house anymore. Everyone is just doing everything online,” she said.