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Florida-based Body Central closed all of its 285 stores nationwide as part of a liquidation, according to a story on Cincinnati.com
The store closures at Regency Mall come after JC Penney announced that it will be shutting its doors by April 30 and Sears left last year. Meanwhile, the new owner of the JC Penney store, David Israel plans to parse out the department store and build three to four tenant spaces.
Sean Phillips, regional marketing director for Regency Mall, released the following statement about the latest wave of store closures:
Regency Mall continues to be a shopping destination for the local community and offers a diverse selection of retailers and restaurants. In addition, the center continues to contribute to overall economy in Racine, and the surrounding area, and we look forward to serving our customers for many years to come.
Owners and managers at some of the stores that remain in the mall say they haven’t been affected by the decrease in traffic.
Will Hancock, manager of GNC, said his store is doing fine financially, but he’s thinking of how he can partner with entities outside of the mall to get more traffic to his store since traffic is down about 20 percent.
“We’re trying to get traffic in here… but with all the stores leaving traffic is definitely down and that makes it a little gloomy here,” he said.
Lisa Ruiz, who owns the B-12 Store with her husband Perry Ruiz, said she hasn’t seen a drop in traffic to her store and she’s had the best month ever since opening in November 2013.
“People in Racine think the mall is dying,” she said. “But it’s not. It’s not a bad place to be. It’s not a rough environment to be in. It’s misunderstood.”
With a number of stores leaving Regency Mall, this is part of an overall trend that has happened at a number of malls, she said.
Ruiz also has locations in Greendale-based Southridge Mall, and Milwaukee-based Shops of Grand Avenue, and she just opened a store in Bay Park Square Mall in Green Bay. Some retailers have also left those malls as well, Ruiz said.
“We just need to keep working on getting the right people in the door,” she said. “There’s a lot of misconceptions about this mall. But the people in Racine do shop here.”
Losing the retail stores has no doubt resulted in jobs lost, but the closures have also affected the YWCA, which has a location inside the mall.
Employment services case manager Tammy Seleski at the YWCA said store managers would often share job listings with their employment services coordinator and their clients often received the first interviews for those jobs. The managers also allowed them to place their clients in paid internships.
“Sadly, the stores need more help now — with opening and shutting down,” she said. “A lot of the stores needed help during the holidays and they would hire on temporary help for that. Now that so many are closing, they still need help shutting down. But the result… is still less jobs.”
With that said, Phillips said the leasing team is still actively pursuing new retailers and the current wave of store closures actually provides the mall with an opportunity to “re-energize the retail mix” and bring in stores that are new to the mall or the market.