Could The Mall At Steamtown Reinvent Itself With An Open-Air Market Atmosphere?

SCRANTON, PA — The Mall at Steamtown hasn’t exactly been running at full power lately.

But a couple of brothers have gone to social media to pitch an idea to put more firepower in the ailing mall, and the public is starting to take notice.

Scranton natives Michael Boyd and his brother George think creating a marketplace similar to the long-standing Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia could be the key to the city’s revitalization.

The downward spiral of the once-vibrant downtown mall has been apparent in recent years. A walk through the two-story structure on Lackawanna Avenue last week showed 47 active store fronts and 23 shuttered ones.

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RadioShack On Brink Of Bankruptcy; Amazon, Sprint In Talks To Buy Stores, Reports Say

RadioShack Corp. is edging toward bankruptcy and both Sprint Corp. and Inc. are interested in buying some of its stores, according to reports.

Under a bankruptcy deal, the century-old electronics retailer would sell about half of its store leases to Sprint Corp., headquartered in Overland Park, Kansas, and close the rest, reported Monday. The remaining stores would operate with the wireless carrier’s name, meaning RadioShack would cease to exist as a stand-alone retailer.

“Sprint and RadioShack also have discussed co-branding the stores. … It’s also possible that another bidder could emerge that would buy RadioShack and keep it operating,” the report says

Sanpower Group, one of the China-based firms that brought gadget retailer Brookstone out of bankruptcy with the intent of operating it as a stand-alone brand, has expressed interest in RadioShack, too.

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“Malls Have Been A Dying Thing For Us”: Who’ll Replace RadioShack?

Radio Shack has been trying to close more than 1,000 of its 5,000 stores for the past year; its lenders are resisting; bankruptcy threatens.

Meantime other retailers are weighing whether Radio Shack sites — 29 in Philadelphia and its nearby suburbs, a total of 130 from Wilmington to Princeton, each about 2,000-2,700 sq ft — would make good lunch spots, phone stores, massage salons.

“We have a lease” to take over a Philadelphia-area Radio Shack — he won’t say which, it’s still open — and are negotiating for others in Boston, Atlanta, Miami, and Austin, Tex., Todd Leff, CEO of Hand and Stone Massage and Facial Spas, a 200-store franchise chain based in Hamilton Township, N.J., told me.  Hand and Stone says it has 35 locations in the Philadelphia area and South Jersey, and plans up to 15 more. Each store employs 30, including therapists and aestheticians for massage and skin care. Hour-long treatments cost $49-99.


Plans To Transform Underperforming Burlington Mall

Over the next two to three months, officials in Burlington Township will be getting architectural and civil engineering drawings of what the new Marketplace at Burlington – formerly Burlington Center Mall – will look like, as well as a count of the traffic it is hoped it will generate.

By mid-spring of next year, owner Moonbeam Capital Investments L.L.C. of Las Vegas says, groundbreaking will begin to convert the underperforming mall into a must-see destination off Exit 47A of I-295 for shopping, dining, and entertainment.

If all goes as planned, the $230 million-plus phased conversion will also include manicured green spaces with benches and fountains that seamlessly tie a traditional mall with an open-air town center.

The full build-out is expected to take from two to three years and will be done in stages. The mall will stay open the entire time.


Pizza Hut, Lone Star Closing Kidder Street Locations

WILKES-BARRE, PA — Two more national brand eateries announced on Monday that they are closing their doors.

One week after its Hanover Township restaurant closed, and following two years of disappointing sales on a national level, Pizza Hut announced that its Kidder Street location also will shut down this week.

And Lone Star Steakhouse, part of a chain that features a Texas-inspired menu, will close its Kidder Street location this weekend. Employees at the restaurant confirmed Monday that the restaurant would close permanently on Saturday.

No one at Lone Star corporate offices in Plano, Texas, could be reached for comment.

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J.C. Penney Stores In York, Chambersburg Among 39 Closing

The JCPenney at York Galleria will close for business around April 4.

Sarah Holland, JCPenney spokeswoman, said via email that the York Galleria store is one of 39 locations nationwide that will close. Throughout Pennsylvania, JCPenney is also closing stores at the Chambersburg Mall in Chambersburg, Susquehanna Valley Mall in Hummels Wharf, Granite Run Mall in Media and Nittany Mall in State College.

Holland said the closures are part of ongoing efforts to meet goals for company growth.

“We continually evaluate our store portfolio to determine whether there’s a need to close or relocate underperforming stores,” Holland said. “While it’s never an easy decision to close stores, especially due to the impact on our valued associates and customers, we feel this is a necessary business decision.”

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Bottom Dollar Food Stores To Close By Year’s End And Be Sold To Aldi

The Belgium-based owner of Bottom Dollar Food stores plans to close its 66 store locations in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia markets and sell the assets to discount food competitor Aldi Inc. for about $15 million.

Aldi said the purchase is part of an expansion plan that will add 650 stores nationwide by the end of 2018.

Delhaize Group of Brussels said all stores are expected to remain open as Bottom Dollar Food stores until yearend. After that, banner will be retired. The sale of stores and leases to Aldi is expected to be completed by March 31.

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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.

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Arby’s Closings Leave Employees Jobless

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metro...

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metropolitan Statistical Area in the northeastern part of the of . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ashley Douglas was depending on her next paycheck from her job at Arby’s to catch up with her rent.

But the single mother of three children will have to find another way to pay her bills. Douglas, 29, of Wilkes-Barre, who worked at the Wyoming Valley Mall Arby’s, was among dozens of employees at six Arby’s restaurants in Northeastern and Central Pennsylvania who lost their jobs when the businesses closed on Friday.

That was the same day the franchise owner’s Chapter 7 liquidation was approved in federal court.

“That was the only job I was working at for right now,” said Douglas, who is separated and raising her children, ages 7, 4 and 3. “I’m depending on that. I’m trying to find something else. I still owe my landlord the rest of the rent for this month … If I don’t get something to pay for my rent, I don’t know what I’m going to do.”

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Retailer Coldwater Creek Files For Bankruptcy

Women’s clothing chain Coldwater Creek has filed for bankruptcy and plans to liquidate its operations.

The Idaho retailer — which has Pittsburgh-area stores in Ross, Monroeville, Mt. Lebanon, Cranberry, Grove City and Erie —announced that it plans to start liquidation sales in early May. The company’s most recent quarterly report listed 343 traditional stores, 36 factory stores and 7 spas.

Coldwater Creek said it has been reviewing its options for the past six months and considered many options, including a sale of the company. But the company wasn’t able to find a buyer or a source of enough capital to turn the business around.

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Sbarro Pizza Chain Files For Bankruptcy Protection For Second Time

The pizza restaurant chain Sbarro on Monday filed for bankruptcy protection for the second time in less than three years, after struggling with too much debt and lower customer traffic in the malls that house many of its restaurants.

Sbarro and more than 30 affiliates filed for Chapter 11 protection from creditors with the US bankruptcy court in Manhattan.

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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.

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Staples To Shutter 225 Stores As Sales Move Online

Staples (Canada)

Staples (Canada) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

FRAMINGHAM, MA (AP) – Staples will close up to 225 stores in North America by the end of next year as it seeks to trim about $500 million in costs annually by 2015.

The nation’s largest office-supply retailer said Thursday that nearly half of its sales are now generated online, so it will aggressively cut costs to become more efficient.

Company shares dropped more than 10 percent before markets opened.

The recession did heavy damage to the industry, which is now under increasing pressure from online retailers as well as discount stores.


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RadioShack Corp. To Close 1,100 Stores, Company Reports

English: A Radio Shack store in the Plaza Cara...

English: A Radio Shack store in the Plaza Caracol shopping center on Boulevard Francisco Medina Ascensio in the city of Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

RadioShack Corp. said it plans to close up to 1,100 stores in the U.S. and reported a wider quarterly loss after a disappointing holiday season.

Its stock tumbled 24 percent in premarket trading today and was down 11 percent at 2.42 after opening on the New York Stock Exchange.

CEO Joseph Magnacca said in statement that the store closings would leave RadioShack with more than 4,000 U.S. stores, including more than 900 dealer franchise locations. The company didn’t immediately identify which stores will be closed or how many jobs would be affected.

There are several stores in the Lehigh Valley, including stores within a mile of each other in Palmer Township.

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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.


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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.

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Blockbuster To Close About 300 Stores In U.S.

Blockbuster said it will close about 300 of its U.S. stores in the coming weeks, thinning the once ubiquitous video rental chain’s bricks-and-mortar presence.

The closures will result in the loss of about 3,000 jobs and leave the company with about 500 stores in the nation, said John Hall, a spokesman for parent company Dish Network Corp. in Englewood, Colo.

Last week, Blockbuster’s British unit entered into administration, a version of bankruptcy, and said it would close 160 stores there, according to the administrator, accounting and consulting firm Deloitte.

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Phillipsburg Mall Ordered For Sale

Phillipsburg Mall is home to anchors like Sears, Bon-Ton, Kohl’s and JCPenney’s.

But have you noticed that the mall’s corridors are riddled with vacancies?

I witnessed the sea of empty storefronts as I walked through the mall during lunchtime Wednesday. I wasn’t necessarily dodging tumbleweeds, but the dearth was obvious.

Phillipsburg has one of the highest vacancy rates among the Lehigh Valley‘s shopping malls, with nearly three dozen empty storefronts among its more than 90 spaces in its online directory.

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Berks-Area Malls And Strips Find Challenges Of Economic Downturn Linger

There is no question that retail businesses have been suffering for the past two years as a result of a weak economy.

Economists predict only slight improvement in 2012. So what does that mean for our local malls and shopping centers?

Shopping Centers Today, a leading publication in the industry, reported in January that shopping center vacancies in the United States averaged 11 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011. That figure was up from 10.9 percent in the fourth quarter of 2010 and not far from the all-time high of 11.1 percent reached in the fourth quarter of 2007.

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Upper Darby’s Shopping District Losing More Than Sears

2010 Sears logo

Image via Wikipedia

The shopping district in Upper Darby, PA is losing more than their Sears store.  In addition, Marshall’s is closing January 14th (but being replaced with Ross); the Turf Club has already closed and left a large empty building and Fashion Choice Jewelry is closing.  The vacant Sears store will leave two large empty buildings in the shopping district.

Sears has been a fixture and an anchor store in the Upper Darby shopping district for 30 years.  We here inPottstown can feel your pain.  Sears has been around Pottstown far longer.

The main reason for the closing is the economy (poor performance).  Since 2008 sales at Sears in Upper Darby have dropped 50 percent.  I would say the Pottstown Sears store is in the same boat.  Compared to Boscov’s and Kohl’s the Sears store is empty.  I could barely shop in Boscov’s last week because it was so crowded.

Sears employees losing their jobs can apply for positions in other stores, take severance, if they qualify, or be furloughed.