Hazleton Alliance Predicts Revitalized Downtown With Strategic Plan Completion

HAZLETON, PA — If the strategic plan for the continued revitalization of downtown Hazleton becomes a reality, the planner believe Broad Street will again be filled with shoppers, students, employees and neighbors, bringing fresh blood, an improved streetscape and a much needed increase in economic activity.

The five-year plan, which outlines specific strategies for achieving goals, was finalized last week after nearly a year of meetings, surveys and pubic input.

Krista Schneider, executive director of the Downtown Hazleton Alliance for Progress, the non-profit organization which commissioned and coordinated the effort, credits its Board of Directors, area leaders and Hazleton residents for their support of the project and willingness to “think outside of the box” when it comes to the city’s future.

Schneider said the effort reflects goals directed by Pennsylvania’s Main Street Program, a four-pronged approach that includes organization, promotion, restructuring and design.

Read more:

http://www.timesleader.com/news/local-news-news/153007106/

Bon-Ton To Close Two Of Its Stores

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Butler County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Butler County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Bon-Ton Stores, Inc. is shuttering two of its stores, citing low sales, the company said in a news release.

The Bon-Ton store in the Clearview Mall in Butler, Pennsylvania and the Elder-Beerman store in the Raleigh Mall in Beckley, West Virginia will close before January 31, 2015, when their respective leases end. Approximately 38 employees at the Clearview Mall Bon-Ton and 39 at the Raleigh Mall Elder-Beerman will lose their jobs, the press release said.

Read more: http://www.ydr.com/local/ci_26679132/bon-ton-shuttering-two-stores

Century 21 Store Owner Pledges To ‘Alter The Retail Landscape’ In Center City

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Philadelphia ...

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Philadelphia County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Eddie Gindi met the family Tuesday. No one who ever pledged to a loved one could have been more solicitous.

Executive vice president and co-owner of Century 21, the latest and, arguably, most exotic retailer to commit to Philadelphia, Gindi promised success, devotion and a boundless future.

“We are honored to be part of Philadelphia,” he told an enthusiastic crowd at the Union League. “We want to alter the retail landscape here.”

And more.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20140611_Store_owner_pledges_to__alter_the_retail_landscape__in_Center_City.html#8bM5ZjttKxmE5Gsc.99

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Steamtown Mall Goes To Sheriff’s Sale June 10 With $43.7M Asking Price

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lackawanna County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lackawanna County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The asking price for the foreclosed downtown shopping center will be $43.7 million, according to a list released Monday by the Lackawanna County sheriff’s office.

The sale begins at 10 a.m. in the first-floor jury lounge at the Lackawanna County Courthouse, said Robert Moore, a deputy sheriff. Although the mall is the first item on the list, the auction will follow bidding for other properties held over from earlier sales, the deputy said.

Mall principal Al Boscov continues to put together financing to try to make the acquisition, said Scott Esterbrook, a Philadelphia lawyer who represents the department store magnate in the foreclosure.

“Albert is still working on a lot of details relating to the foreclosure sale,” Mr. Esterbrook said. “He is trying to raise the capital to pull it off.

Read more: http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/steamtown-mall-goes-to-sheriff-s-sale-june-10-with-43-7m-asking-price-1.1676862

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Boscov: Steamtown Mall Nearing Foreclosure

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lackawanna County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lackawanna County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Mall at Steamtown is on the verge of foreclosure, department store magnate Al Boscov disclosed to The Times-Tribune on Wednesday.

The mall ownership group, Steamtown Mall Partners LP, recently defaulted on a lump sum mortgage payment and a property foreclosure action is expected to be filed by Friday in Lackawanna County Court, Boscov told the newspaper’s editorial board.

The mall will continue to operate and shoppers should notice no difference at the Lackawanna Avenue retail complex during foreclosure, he said. All of the mall’s tenants but one, a store whose lease was up, have decided to stay.

Reiterating his personal commitment to the mall and to downtown Scranton, Boscov, chairman and chief executive of Boscov’s department store, said the mall’s ownership believes the foreclosure process will help the property emerge as a financially healthier operation.

Read more:  http://citizensvoice.com/news/boscov-steamtown-mall-nearing-foreclosure-1.1645780

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J.C. Penney Closing 33 Stores – 2 In Philadelphia Suburbs

English: JCPenney store at the Holiday Village...

English: JCPenney store at the Holiday Village Mall in Great Falls, Montana, taken March 4, 2007. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Struggling department-store operator J.C. Penney Co. announced it will cut 2,000 jobs and close 33 stores – including its stores in Exton and Burlington – as it tries to get back on the path to profitability.

The news raises concerns that Penney’s holiday season sales were not what the company hoped for and that the chain needs to do even more to recover from a turnaround plan that has had disastrous results.

J.C. Penney said earlier this month said it was pleased with its holiday results but declined to give sales figures, raising worries among Wall Street analysts about how the season actually fared.

Penney has 116,000 staffers and operates more than 1,100 stores.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20140116_Penney_closing_33_stores_-_2_in_Phila__suburbs.html#uJtvJ5BOgUjA4UKO.99

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Macy’s To Cut 2,500 Jobs, Close Stores

Macy's logo

Macy’s logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Macy’s Inc. is cutting 2,500 jobs as part of a reorganization to sustain its profitability.

The announcement comes on the heels of a strong holiday shopping season for the department store chain.

Macy’s said Wednesday that it will reassign or transfer some workers and add some positions, leaving its workforce level at about 175,000.

The Cincinnati-based company plans to close five stores and open eight others, leaving it with 844 stores nationwide once the changes are complete.

Read more: http://www.inyork.com/community/ci_24868130/macys-cut-2-500-jobs?source=rss

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Mall At Steamtown Battles For Survival

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lackawanna County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lackawanna County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As Bon-Ton reported it will vacate the Mall at Steamtown in January, department store magnate Al Boscov admits the shopping complex is battling for its existence.

“I am trying to figure out ways that we can survive,” said Boscov, who developed the $101 million Lackawanna Avenue complex and is a principal in the group that owns the facility.

Bon-Ton reported it will close its 100,000-square-foot store in the mall before its lease expires Jan. 31. Spokeswoman Mary Kerr said it probably will cease operations between Jan. 26 and Jan. 29.

“It’s sad. It’s certainly something that we don’t want to do,” Kerr said. “We do have to make these hard decisions at times.”

Read more: http://citizensvoice.com/news/mall-at-steamtown-battles-for-survival-1.1570580

Boscov’s Adds Furniture Line, Eliminates Appliances

English: Boscov's Department Store in the Exto...

English: Boscov’s Department Store in the Exton Square Mall. Built c. 1998 as an expansion to the mall, it displaced the Zook House which was on the NRHP in Chester County, PA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Boscov’s is eliminating its section of appliances and electronics in its more than 40 stores and using the space to grow its furniture selections.

Albert R. Boscov, chairman of Boscov’s Department Stores Inc., said the furniture business is seeing growth, while sales of products such as televisions are not.

With high competition from stores that specialize in electronics, such as Best Buy, Boscov said the company is going to stick to what it does well.

Boscov’s is one of the last department stores that sell appliances, he said, selling those products longer than some of its competitors.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=428507

Bon-Ton Eliminates COO Role

The Bon-Ton Stores said Friday it will eliminate the position of chief operating officer, terminating Barbara J. Schrantz effective Sept. 14.

The York-based department store chain made the announcement in a one-sentence filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Schrantz joined The Bon-Ton in 2005 as a senior vice president, becoming an executive vice president in 2009 and COO last year.

The company did not immediately explain the move or say who will assume Schrantz’s duties.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/article/local/725367_Bon-Ton-eliminates-COO-role.html#ixzz25Q5yxy5V

J.C. Penney Outlet In Fairgrounds Square Mall In Transition To Broader Based Store

JC Penney is one of the three department store...

JC Penney is one of the three department stores at the mall. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The J.C. Penney Outlet, one the three anchor stores at the Fairgrounds Square Mall, is experiencing growing pains.

The store is transitioning to a new outlet store with a new name, JC’s 5 Star Outlet, and an expanded inventory of closeouts from various manufacturers.

For now, store manager Bob Williams wants to focus on one thing: letting customers know that the store is open for business with no plans to close.

“Last year, when J.C. Penney decided to get out of the outlet business, customers were led to believe that we would be leaving,” Williams said.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=390171

Boscov’s To Open Pair Of Stores

The southwest entrance facade of Woodbridge Mall.

The southwest entrance facade of Woodbridge Mall. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Boscov’s Department Store said Thursday that it will open two new department stores, one in New Jersey and one in Maryland, over the next year and a half.

A planned 180,000-square-foot store in New Jersey’s Woodbridge Center mall, Woodbridge, will open in August 2013, while Maryland’s White Marsh Mall will get a 197,000-square-foot store in November, according to a Boscov’s news release.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=386979

Target Eyes Valley Forge Shopping Center For Possible New Store

English: Logo of Target, US-based retail chain

Image via Wikipedia

UPPER MERION — A new development at the Valley Forge Shopping Center goes before the planning commission next week. If approved, a new Target department store and Starbucks Coffee could come to the township in a few months.

The Valley Forge Center Associate are planning to redevelop the eastern portion of the Valley Forge Shopping Center, to include a Target department store, a Starbucks and an inline commercial building.

Read more: http://www.timesherald.com/article/20120203/NEWS01/120209817

York-Based Bon-Ton Store’s Bonds Being Shunned By Investors

Investors are shunning Bon-Ton Stores Inc.‘s bonds – a bad sign for the York-based department store chain with seven stores in the Lehigh Valley.

In contrast, other retailers have recently gained from rising consumer confidence in the U.S.

Bon-Ton’s $480 million of 10.25 percent notes due in March 2014 lost 2.8 percent last month, the worst performance of any bonds in the Bank of America Merrill Lynch U.S. High Yield Super Retail Index, which climbed 1.7 percent overall. Moody’s Investors Service put its Caa1 rating for the securities on “negative outlook” on Dec. 1, citing the company’s “persistent underperformance.”

Read more: http://www.mcall.com/business/mc-allentown-bontton-20120103,0,3027398.story

Pottstown And Upper Darby Sears Stores Closing

2010 Sears logo

Image via Wikipedia

Sears Holding Corporation just released their store closing list and two area Sears stores are on the chopping block.  The Coventry Mall and 69th Street Sears stores are closing.  No Kmart stores will be closed in Pennsylvania and no other Sears store in Pennsylvania will close, other than Pottstown and Upper Darby.

The Sears store at Coventry Mall predates the mall.  Originally Sears was in downtown Pottstown and moved across the river into North Coventry Township as a stand alone store.  When the mall was built in 1967, Sears was connected to the mall.  The Sears store is last surviving original anchor store at Coventry Mall. 

Sears retail stores have been in decline for several decades.  Sears was the nation’s largest retailer until the 1980’s but has declined considerably since then.  In 2005 Sears merged with Kmart.  Kmart purchased Sears and Kmart Holding Corporation changed its name to Sears Holding Corporation.

Sears built and owned what is still the tallest building in the United States, the Sears Tower in Chicago.  In 1993, Sears sold their skyscraper and moved into an office park setting in Hoffman Estates, IL.

J.C. Penney Returns To Franklin Mills Mall

English: The logo of Simon Property Group.

Image via Wikipedia

The J.C. Penney outlet store at Franklin Mills mall was one of 19 outlet stores closed by J.C. Penney.  In March of 2012, J.C. Penney is coming back to Franklin Mills as a full-line department store.  The new 100,000 square-foot store will occupy the same space but feature an updated design.

Franklin Mills Mall, is owned by Simon Property Group and has 200 stores.

Boscov’s Names New Vice Chairman

Boscov’s Chairman and CEO Albert Boscov made an announcement today appointing Jim Boscov as Vice Chairman of Boscov’s Department Stores.  The promotion ensures that the 39-store chain will remain a family business.  Jim holds a master’s degree from Tufts University and started with Boscov’s in 1975 as an assistant store manager.

Albert Boscov said he has no plans to retire but wants to assure employees and business partners that “Boscov’s will remain Boscov’s for many years to come.”

Boscov’s is a Reading, PA-based department store chain founded in 1911.  Boscov’s is one of the last family-owned department store chains left in the United States.  Boscov’s successfully fought off bankruptcy in a little more than one year and has emerged strong. 

For a listing of Boscov’s store locations:

http://www.boscovs.com/static/about_boscov/stores_locations.html

J.C. Penney Closing Stores – Dropping Catalog Business

A 1947 topographic map of the Reading, Pennsyl...

Image via Wikipedia

I guess all good things come to an end.  J.C. Penney is getting out of the catalog business and closing all 19 of their catalog outlet stores.

This is possibly bad news for the Fairgrounds Square Mall, in Muhlenberg Township, which has a J.C. Penney catalog outlet store.  The store used to be a regular J.C. Penney and is one of the mall anchor stores.  The Fairgrounds location converted to the catalog outlet format in 1999. 

No closing date has been set other than it will be sometime in 2011 – 2012.  J.C. Penney would not say whether the store will close or convert back to a standard J.C. Penney retail store.

This would leave Boscov’s and Burlington Coat Factory as the remaining anchor stores in the event Penney’s pulls out of the Fairgrounds Square Mall.