After 24 years as an anchor at SouthPark Mall in Moline, Sears announced Friday that it is closing the store.
In a brief statement, the national retailer said the store will close in mid-October. The store’s 60 employees, who were notified of the closing Friday morning, may apply for positions at other Sears and Kmart stores.
Sears and Kmart brands are owned by Sears Holdings Co.
A corporate representative said the Sears store at NorthPark Mall in Davenport is not affected.
“The store closures are part of a series of actions we’re taking to reduce on-going expenses, adjust our asset base, and accelerate the transformation of our business model,” Sears said in the statement. “These actions will better enable us to focus our investments on serving our customers and members through integrated retail — at the store, online and in the home.”
Aleshia Chiesa, the marketing manager for SouthPark and NorthPark malls, said the malls' owners “could not speak on behalf of Sears and its business decisions.”
“We are prepared for the changes ahead of us, and we are always focused on how we can enhance SouthPark Mall,” she said in a prepared statement.
The two Quad-City malls are owned by Macerich Corp., which took over full ownership of the properties in December 2011. Macerich had co-owned the properties for nearly a decade in a 50/50 venture with Simon DeBartolo Group.
Sears has operated at SouthPark since 1990 when it relocated to the mall from Moline’s King Plaza shopping center on 23rd Avenue. The 105,700-square-foot SouthPark store was the anchor tenant of a 234,000-square-foot expansion and remodeling project that created the Food Court.
The store will begin a liquidation sale July 26.
The closing is the latest blow to SouthPark's tenant base. The announcement comes on the heels of the May closing of big box store Old Navy.
New Moline Alderman Janet Bender, whose 3rd Ward includes SouthPark Mall, said the city council has had discussions about ways to help the mall attract more customers and businesses.
"The council is discussing what changes could be made to make it better and give it a face-lift and make it more marketable for the area," Bender said.
The mall's future and redevelopment have been the focus of a three-year effort by a task force made up of city, chamber and business representatives.
Tara Barney, the Quad-Cities Chamber of Commerce's CEO, said while the loss of Sears "can be tough for us, it is part of Sears' business model in the present economy."
"Sears is shrinking all over the country," she said, adding that the task force plans to "manage past the Sears' closing."
She said Sears' departure ''could be part of SouthPark's evolution" and the empty anchor could fit in to future redevelopment plans. The task force has continued to meet regularly with Macerich officials.
In June, the city of Moline delayed the creation of a tax increment finance district for the mall while state transportation officials study the possibility of a new intersection to access the mall. The Illinois Department of Transportation is studying a proposal to build a new intersection off John Deere Expressway between 16th Street and Interstate 74. Its report is due in August.
"We know it's a very big piece of real estate that is very underutilized right now,'' Barney said of the mall. "We want to make sure we do all we can to get the infrastructure worked out ... so it can have a more prosperous future than it has now."
"As SouthPark is trying to figure out its future, a lot of how it can redevelop is dependent on making 21st-century access to the site," she said.