Cityscape

Macy’s to close Metcalf South store as company restructures, cutting 2,500 jobs

Updated: 2014-01-09T03:58:04Z

By JOYCE SMITH

The Kansas City Star

Macy’s will close its store in Metcalf South Shopping Center as part of a corporate overhaul that will result in 2,500 job cuts nationwide.

The retailer announced Wednesday that it will close five stores in early spring, including the store at 9501 Metcalf Ave. in Overland Park and one in the Jamestown Mall in Florissant, Mo., a St. Louis suburb. Clearance sales are set to start Monday and run for 10 to 11 weeks.

Macy’s has 216,000 square feet in Metcalf South, so its closing will be a blow to the center. Sears will be the remaining anchor tenant. The center, which opened in 1967, has struggled for many years as it competed with newer malls that also were larger and more stylish.

Officials with MD Management, which developed the mall, declined to comment Wednesday.

Macy’s has been a fixture at the suburban mall since mid-2006. It took over the store when Federated Department Stores Inc., the owners of Macy’s, merged with May Department Stores Co., which owned The Jones Store. The Jones Store had been at Metcalf South since it opened.

In recent years, wholesale home decor, gift and fashion retailers open limited hours have filled many of Metcalf South’s vacancies — with Macy’s and Sears on the ends. A Topsy’s Popcorn shop and the Glenwood Arts Theatre also are in the center.

Redevelopment plans for the center at 95th Street and Metcalf Avenue have stalled over the years, including one several years ago that would have converted the center into a mixed-use project with upscale boutiques, national and local retail, entertainment, office and residential space, and a hotel.

At the center Wednesday evening, Drew Bodner of Prairie Village was walking the mall and said he was worried about whether Metcalf South would close. He said he had shopped at the Macy’s store ever since it opened as a Jones Store and still did occasionally. But he said he and his wife had been shifting more of their shopping to Oak Park Mall.

“There’s a lot more shops” at Oak Park, he said, “and it’s a lot more fun.”

Donamae Rebman of Overland Park was entering the store to see what Macy’s had on sale.

“I am sad, very,” she said, adding she probably would go to the Oak Park Macy’s in the future.

The Metcalf South store has 88 employees. Macy’s said they will be eligible for severance, and some will be reassigned or transferred.

Macy’s other area stores are in Independence Center, Metro North Shopping Center, Oak Park Mall in Overland Park, Summit Fair in Lee’s Summit, The Shops in Prairie Village and in Leawood’s Town Center Plaza.

The store closing and job cuts are part of a restructuring plan that is expected to save Macy’s about $100 million annually. At the same time, Macy’s also plans to open eight new Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s stores. It will then operate 844 stores, with about 175,000 employees.

“Our company has significantly increased sales and profitability over the past four years, and we have created a culture of growth at Macy’s Inc.,” Terry J. Lundgren, Macy’s chairman, president and chief executive officer, said in a statement Wednesday. “We have identified some specific areas where we can improve our efficiency without compromising our effectiveness in serving the evolving needs of our customers.”

Besides the Metcalf South and St. Louis area stores, Macy’s announced plans to close stores in Arizona, New York and Utah.

Macy’s also said it will combine its St. Louis-based Midwest Region with the North Region to create a new North Central Region.

Retail experts said that at a time when many retailers are struggling with restrained consumer spending, Lundgren has kept profit growing by adding competitively priced exclusive merchandise and letting lower-level managers tailor assortments to local tastes. He also increased online sales by fulfilling Web orders from store inventory.

The department store chain reported strong holiday season sales Wednesday and gave a preliminary forecast for 2014 that suggests it will continue to outpace its rivals.

“Macy’s has dominated the retail scene and gained share over other retailers by giving consumers the promotions they wanted,” said Walter Loeb, a New York retail consultant. “Cutting back is also recognition that technology has worked satisfactorily at Macy’s and that a lot of their new business comes from the Internet.”

Bloomberg News contributed to this report. To reach Joyce Smith, call 816-234-4692 or send email to jsmith@kcstar.com. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter at JoyceKC.

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