Friday, May 29, 2020

[EXCLUSIVE] Sears Closing Last Georgia Store

ToNeTo Atlanta has learned that Sears is currently working towards closing its store at Town Center at Cobb in Kennesaw. The two level store, which opened along with the mall in 1986, is one of five anchors at the property.  Its closure, which will leave the mall with (for now) two Macy's, JCPenney and Belk as anchors, also leaves Georgia without a full-service Sears store. [JCPenney filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on May 15 and plans to reveal a first round of store closures in early June.]  The  Kennesaw Sears, which recently reopened to liquidate its merchandise, is according to several job postings, looking to hire temporary employees to help wind down operations.    
Transformco, the company formed in January 2019 to buy the remaining assets of bankrupt retailer Sears Holdings Corp., announced plans this past November to close 96 stores by early 2020.  The closures - 51 Sears and 45 Kmart stores - were scheduled to start this past February, with going-out-of-business sales slated to end in mid-April.  It's unclear if those stores liquidated all on-hand merchandise before being forced to close due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the one Georgia store included in the list, at Augusta Mall in Augusta, has permanently closed. 

The closure of the Kennesaw store will mean that there are zero Sears department stores left in Georgia (and a dwindling number nationwide), but the Sears brand will remain.  There are still eleven Sears Hometown Stores and five Sears Appliance Outlet Stores in business around Georgia, primarily in smaller communities like Blairsville, Carrollton, Dublin, Jesup and Sandersville, among other markets.  Both banners, despite being listed on the Sears website under locations, are today owned and operated independent of Transformco.  

Kmart, sibling Sears brand under the Transformco umbrella, vacated the Georgia market in late 2018, when its final few stores were shuttered in Covington and Peachtree City.  

Anchors like Sears, Macy's, JCPenney, and others, once sought after assets for malls, have in recent years become liabilities as more and more stores reduce their number and create huge vacancies.  In some cases their departure creates opportunity for mall owners to backfill their "boxes" with higher and better uses, but this is not always the case.  
At Cumberland Mall, for instance, where Sears closed its store in November 2018, mall owner Brookfield Properties has leased portions of the former two-level Sears box to Dick's Sporting Goods, Golf Galaxy, Round1 and Planet Fitness.  

For its part, Simon Property Group, owner of Town Center at Cobb, was well underway with the redevelopment of a former Belk at its Phipps Plaza center in Buckhead before suspending construction in early April.  The project, which started in late 2018, was to bring a new NOBU Hotel & restaurant, Life Time Athletic, Pinstripes bowling & bocce venue, and an office tower to the site of the former three-level department store.  

It will be interesting to see if Simon opts to redevelop the Sears box at Town Center, or, as some in the retail industry predict, decides instead to further reduce its property count and shed malls like Town Center that it might consider "non-core," given it's not an "A" mall like Lenox Square and Phipps Plaza.  

Simon has in years past shed both Gwinnett Place and Northlake Malls from its portfolio as it worked to strengthen its balance sheet, increase its occupancy percentage and narrow its focus to its most productive malls.  

Several former Atlanta area Sears stores have been reborn as popular attractions.  The site of the former Buckhead Sears is today home to the St. Regis Atlanta, while the former Sears store, offices and warehouse along Ponce de Leon Avenue in Old Fourth Ward was reborn as Ponce City Market.

Are you sad to see Sears disappear from Georgia?  What is one item you bought or were given from Sears that you still have?  What would you like to see open in place of Sears at Town Center at Cobb?

Please share your thoughts below.  

24 comments:

Emma said...

Both my mom and my husband began their adventures in the world of credit card holding with a Sears card. For my mom it was kind of a bigger deal because the law allowing women to have credit cards in their own names had only just recently become a thing. She bought a sewing machine. My husband bought a set of Craftsman tools (he's a mechanic, though he has long since graduated to tools from Snap-on lol). More recently, he and I bought our lawnmower at the Northlake Sears. The Sears Outlet in Tucker held on longer than that Northlake location, but even it has recently transformed into an American Furniture Outlet (I think).

Unknown said...

I have a Kenmore Elite refrigerator that's still in good shape. I always bought heavy appliances and Craftsman tools at Sears. I will miss them.

Anonymous said...

town center is a dying mall anyway.

stumblebee said...

I would like to see something a little nicer go in there, like Dillard's but it won't happen.

Robert Hand said...

I have been buying my Levis from Sears for 40 years. Always best prices. Good selection.---

Anonymous said...

I bought a refrigerator Thanksgiving November 30th holiday. And a refrigerator has yet to arrive and they've been delay in it and delaying it now I guess I better just get my money back and be glad.0

Anonymous said...

Craftsman tools are now available at Lowes.

Anonymous said...

please clarify the Phipps Plaza statement in the post " was to have been a new NOBU " Is this project off the rails for good or is it a temp delay due to Covid. The way it reads brings to mind the original Shops of Buckhead project which was stopped dead in the water leaving blight for years... The rona decimation is just beginning thanks

Anonymous said...

FYI, there are still several Sears "Hometown" stores in GA

http://www.searshometownstores.com/

Unknown said...

Simon Properties should consider converting some of their supplies suburban mall properties to over 55 living entities with some retail and other services to almost a all you need is right there, plenty of parking to convert to greenspace, ect. - a total all you need is there or Sam close-by. My envision would work,just not sure if financially if it could, but worth a study. Also residents could be built-in labor resource. I am ready to live there!

Jerry said...

That was stated in the article.

Anonymous said...

The over 55 suggestion makes a lot of sense!!!

Cody Cargle said...

Anonymous said on May 29, 2020 at 11:42 Am Town Center at Cobb isn’t going anywhere Kennesaw is a different animal compared to Douglasville or Atlanta near Suntrust Park where Cumberland Mall is, actually Town Center at Cobb is probably the best mall near my old house that wasn’t high end honestly because I just went into Arbor Place Mall for the first time last week since I was attending a funeral for a family relative recently and was staying at the La Quinta in Douglasville and I will say the Sears over there is going to be sitting vacant a lot longer than the one in Kennesaw will honestly, I think once Covid 19 settles down there’s a good chance Dillard’s or the return of Kohl’s into shopping malls will more than likely replace Sears, so with that being said it looks like JCPenney’s might stay in Kennesaw for a little while longer considering the existing circumstances within the company. 🤔

Cody Cargle said...

Stumblebee said on May 29, 2020 at 11:50 Am Don’t be negative at all, I think Dillard’s will consider this location because if you read some news about Sears that aren’t in Georgia or Florida, some of the Texas locations including out west actually have converted over to Dillard’s over the past years in general, Kennesaw always innovates itself just like Panama City Beach does, one thing both Kennesaw and PCB have in common is the government is similar very conservative and another fact Pier Park is owned by the same people as Town Center at Cobb as well, the difference with Town Center at Cobb vs Gwinnett Place/Northlake is the areas of Duluth and Tucker are not very well ran cities considering how badly rundown the malls are, like Mall of Georgia and Sugarloaf Mills have kept up unlike Gwinnett Place, where Perimeter has thrived more than Northlake has as well, so before you assume things, Kennesaw has a future unlike those malls do, I’m not saying Arbor Place or Cumberland will go under, but Macy’s and Costco is what keeps Cumberland going besides Truist Park ballfield, and Arbor Place still has Macy’s, Dillard’s, and Belk keeping it running so with that being said things will improve between 2020 and 2023. 🤔

Anonymous said...

child. you have no idea what you are talking about.

Anonymous said...

coming from someone who actually lives in kennesaw no. it is dying.

Cody Cargle said...

Anonymous said on May 31, 2020 at 2:05 Am and 2:06 Am Wtf you are calling me a child, I’m a young adult I’m 24 years old going to be 25 I know what the hell I’m talking about sounds you don’t moron? 😂 Okayyyy smartass name one thing that is falling apart in Kennesaw that pertains to Town Center at Cobb because last I checked it’s still doing better than Arbor Place and Cumberland Mall as whole, if anything Douglasville is dying, Hiram is falling apart, Powder Springs is about gone, Austell is on the verge of death, Mableton is too, Marietta is about gone, Smyrna is slowly dying, so either way if you claim to live in Kennesaw it shows how much you know about your area just because some stores and restaurants have come and go doesn’t mean it’s dying, and the nerve of calling a grown man a child real classic lol! 😂 What are you going to do when I turned 30 or 40? 🤣 I think your acting like a child saying the mall is dying, have you even taken a look at the surrounding communities especially Atlanta recently with all the bs going on right now, so therefore may I suggest you need to make a complaint to Simon malls about it or better yet the City of Kennesaw about your concerns! 🤔

Wookie said...

My last experience with Sears was a few years ago. I bought a Craftsman workbench. It was such a painful experience watching the employees struggle to figure out how to get it ordered for me that I predicted that day they would be out of business soon and desevervedly so. It turned out great for me because they ordered a bigger nicer workbench but only charged for the one I had planned to buy. Then when I went to pick it up they didn't have the full order so I got free delivery on the rest.

Anonymous said...

To the 24 year who thinks he/she knows it all.

You don't have a clue !

Cody Cargle said...

Anonymous said on June 10, 2020 at 12:11 PM I never said I knew it all, you don’t have to be an asshole about it, I get what your saying but you obviously are reading too much into this gloom and doom, I can tell off the bat Douglasville Georgia is definitely dying not Kennesaw every tourist that comes to Panama City Beach has never said anything bad about Kennesaw except for the horrible traffic on Barrett Parkway that’s it, the last time I went to Town Center at Cobb in 2015, the place was not doing horrible it was doing decent, your getting your panties in a wad about this I mean Jesus calm the hell down why don’t you? 🤦🏻‍♂️

Anonymous said...

Sad to see the store close, but people want to buy cheap junk instead of quality products.

Unknown said...

I'd like to see Kenmore cannister vaccum cleaners still sold and all Kenmore items. Someone please take pver.

Unknown said...

I would like to see someone else pick up Kenmore appliances especially cannister vaccum. I hate to see the older places go out. I live in the past where things were simple and things were made a lot better. Old times I really miss.

Unknown said...

Holy vow, that was one sentence!

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