Macy's confirmed Thursday that it will close its downtown St. Paul retail store as part of what it called "normal-course adjustments" across its United States properties -- including other Minnesota stores.
"It's part a process where we periodically look at all of our store locations, add stores where we think there are opportunities to fill gaps in markets, and unfortunately sometimes we need to prune stores that are not performing well," said company spokesman Jim Sluzewski.
St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman put an optimistic outlook on the closing, calling it an opportunity to launch another redevelopment in downtown, which he says has attracted over a billion dollars of investment in the last decade.
"We've added jobs. We've added facilities like the refurbished Union Depot. We're going to begin construction this year on the regional ballpark, expansions on the Ordway facility, we have the Lunds/Byerly's grocery store that's coming in to new housing at the Penfield. So I think the success story of downtown St. Paul is quite amazing," he said.
Coleman says the city has talked in the past to Target and Kohls about possibly moving into the downtown store being vacated by Macy's, but he's cautious about the prospects.
"We certainly have had conversations with all of those folks at various points. There are other retailers out there. I think there has to be a decision that's based on what works for the company, as opposed to, when we provided a loan for then Target slash Dayton's 10 years ago, it was really based on a transition phase for downtown St. Paul. I think losing our retail at that time would have been a devastating blow," he said.
The 362,000 square foot store first opened as Dayton's in 1963. Macy's says the St. Paul store currently employs 153 people.
The store had benefited from a city subsidy 10 years ago, which included a provision that the store stay open for a decade. That contract expired this week.
The store is one of five that Macy's is closing nationwide in early spring.
St. Paul officials said they plan to work with the department store company to try and sell the property and convert it to another use as quickly as possible.
Here's part of the Macy's statement:
"We remain committed to operating a successful and growing stores business as part of our company's Omnichannel strategy for serving customers wherever, whenever and however they prefer to shop," said Karen M. Hoguet, chief financial officer of Macy's, Inc. "This leads us to open new stores where we see the opportunity to fill gaps in important markets, as well as to make the tough decision to selectively close underperforming stores that no longer meet our performance requirements or where leases are not being renewed."
Macy's is also closing its men's and home business store at Ridgedale and moving those operations to the mall's main Macy's store.
Curtis Gilbert contributed to this report.
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