An iconic, longtime pillar of the Concord Mall is closing, adding more uncertainty to the north Wilmington mall’s fate.
The Sears that opened in the mall in 1992 announced plans to liquidate the store’s merchandise, targeting a planned closure in April. With earlier closings of the Sears stores in Prices Corner and Dover, this marks the end of the last Sears store in Delaware. Sears continues to operate a discount outlet store in University Plaza in Newark and the company’s website still lists “Sears Hometown Stores” in Middletown, Milford and Seaford.
A spokesman for Sears’ parent company said the decision was made “after careful review.” The company did not disclose how many employees will be impacted by the shuttering.
“We have made the difficult but necessary decision to close the Sears store in Wilmington, Delaware. The liquidation sale will begin this week and the store is planned to close in mid-April,” said Larry Costello of Chicago-based TransformCo.
At least six regional Sears stores have announced closures in the last 24 hours, part of 96 Sears and Kmart stores to be closed across the US. This includes stores in Maryland and New Jersey. The once-dominant retailer is left with 182 locations nationwide.
The chain’s departure will be a blow to the Concord Mall, which also hosts a Macy’s as an anchor tenant. Macy’s announced this week it would be closing “roughly” 125 stores.
The Delaware Business Times (DBT) recently reported the troubled mall recently traded hands.
“The mall wasn’t so much sold as forfeited, as its owner, Concord Mall LP – owned and operated by the well-known Acierno family of developers – faced the prospect of foreclosure on the long-running retail destination space near the Pennsylvania border,” the DBT reported.
Local real estate experts speculate that the land occupied by the mall could be cleared for redevelopment as apartments and single-family homes.
Party City in Elsmere abruptly closes
Another longtime local retailer, Elsmere’s Party City, abruptly closed their doors last week. The store posted notice of their closing on January 28, saying “Thanks for the last 26 Years.”
TSD had visited Party City the day before to ask about the potential impact on their business of a bill that would ban the mass release of helium-filled latex balloons. The store manager said the legislation wouldn’t cause the retailer to “miss a beat.”
“We’ve had our own sign up for more than two years right here in the balloon section asking people to be responsible with helium balloons,” he said.
The manager also noted that a national helium shortage had impacted their party balloon sales. Discussion on Facebook about the closure suggested it came without much warning and could have been tied to the helium shortage.
In May the chain announced it was shuttering 45 stores.