Macomb Mall Sears to close; At Home to open

Ian Thibodeau, The Detroit News

The Sears store at Macomb Mall will close in mid-September, but those managing the recently renovated mall see a chance for growth in the space that the limping anchor tenant will vacate.

Matt Drozd, director at Lormax Stern Development, the development company that handles the Roseville mall, told The Detroit News on Friday that a portion of that Sears store is already being renovated into big-box home-decor store At Home.

Since Sears Holdings owns the portion of the mall that Sears currently occupies, Drozd does not control the property. He said Sears is close to finalizing a deal with another retail store, but would not go into detail.

“(The closure) brings a tremendous opportunity to the mall (and) surrounding area,” said Drozd, whose development company recently brought an At Home store to a former Kmart store in Bloomfield Hills. “At Home will be a very, very good fit.”

It’s a continuation of the changes that started in 2013, when the mall’s new owners began spending tens of millions of dollars to improve the then-struggling mall. Sears was an old, low-traffic tenant, according to Drozd.

The closure offers a chance for the mall to increase traffic to an entire largely neglected wing, he said.

Howard Riefs, Sears Holdings spokesman, said Friday the Sears will begin liquidation sales June 30, and close by mid-September at the store at 32123 Gratiot. News of the planned closures came from a Friday filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission from real estate investment trust Seritage Growth Properties, which owns 235 Sears and Kmart store locations that it leases back to Sears Holdings.

Twenty new store closings – 18 Sears and two Kmarts – are in the latest batch of closings.

Riefs said said the only Michigan store affected by the most recent round of axing is the Roseville Sears.

He said the auto center at the mall will be converted to a DieHard Auto Center.

“We have been strategically and aggressively evaluating our store space and productivity, and have accelerated the closing of unprofitable stores as previously announced,” he said in a statement. He did not disclose the number of employees who would be out of a job because of the closure. “Those associates that are eligible will receive severance and have the opportunity to apply for open positions at area Sears or Kmart stores.”

The new closures come after around 164 Kmarts and 62 Sears stores closing just this year. Near the end of 2016, close to two-thirds of the 2,165 Kmart stores that were operating nationwide in 2000, two years before Kmart filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, had closed.

Twitter: @Ian_Thibodeau

The Associated Press contributed