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News Updates: January 2006

All updates from the month of January 2006 are listed below.

Filene's to commence liquidation on January 29
Written by Justin on January 20, 2006 at 11:26PM
  • The erstwhile New England icon of Filene's is beginning its last real week in business Monday. Beginning on January 29, Filene's stores at Downtown Crossing in Boston, the Burlington Mall in Burlington, Northshore Mall in Peabody, Cape Cod Mall in Hyannis, South Shore Plaza in Braintree, Westgate Mall in Brockton, and of course, the Natick Mall in Natick. So far, Federated is yet to announce the discounts to be expected at Filene's closing stores. Customer response is expected to determine how fast the discounts will escalate, and how quickly the stores will be shuttered.
  • Out of state, closing sales at the Maine Mall in South Portland, ME; Pheasant Lane Mall in Nashua, NH; Fox Run Mall in Newington, NH; Warwick Mall in Warwick, RI; and The Mall at Rockingham Park in Salem, NH, amongst others, are expected to begin. Southern California will also be treated to these large-scale liquidations at Robinson's-May stores. And around the country, St. Louis, MO-based Famous-Barr, Washington, D.C.-based Hecht's, Pittsburgh, PA-based Kaufmann's, Indianapolis, IN-based L.S. Ayers, and Philadelphia, PA-based Strawbridge's will begin the sales that will lead to the closure of nearly 400 department stores.
  • More local details can be in the Boston Herald, online at http://business.bostonherald.com/businessNews/view.bg?articleid=121809.
Can two seniors make a difference?
Written by Justin on January 20, 2006 at 10:44PM
A lack of handicapped spaces at the Natick Mall?
Written by Justin on January 15, 2006 at 1:47PM
  • A few days ago, the MWDN reported on the lack of handicapped parking spaces available at the Natick Mall. Apparently the construction of Parking Garage F has closed many of the parking spaces allotted to handicapped mall visitors, specifically around the area of Sears, which ironically happens to be the oldest-targetting department store at the mall. The story focuses on an elderly Natick couple who are upset with the lack of handicapped spaces at the mall. The story is at http://www.metrowestdailynews.com/localRegional/view.bg?articleid=119109.
  • And I've put up a new commentary on the state of retailing in New England at Beyond Retail. Check it out.
Federated to sell Lord and Taylor chain
Written by Justin on January 13, 2006 at 4:48PM
  • One of the largest business stories today regards the sale of the Lord and Taylor chain. Federated Department Stores, which acquired Lord and Taylor by means of the May Department Stores merger, has announced that the chain is up for sale. The chain has shuttered locations in recent years (the Emerald Square and Providence Place malls as two examples), but generated $1.5b in sales in 2005.
  • What does the sale mean for the area? Lord and Taylor stores at the Natick Mall, Burlington Mall, Prudential Center, and others are unlikely to change name or close, as Federated intends to sell the entire chain to one company. Most are expecting a group of private equity investors to acquire the chain, much like how Neiman Marcus changed ownership last year. For more information on the sale, check out a Google News search at http://news.google.com/news?hl=en&tab=wn&ie=UTF-8&q=lord+%26+taylor. Specifically, there is a Boston Globe story at http://www.boston.com/business/articles/2006/01/13/federated_will_sell_its_lord__taylor_unit/ and a Chicago Sun-Times story at http://www.suntimes.com/output/business/cst-fin-lord13.html.
4 tenants in the running for Macy's space
Written by Justin on January 12, 2006 at 11:07PM
  • According the an article in the Boston Globe, the Natick Mall is considering four different tenants to potentially take the Macy's space at the mall. As previously stated, the Macy's store at the Natick Mall will be vacated once the Macy's brand relocates to the Filene's building by this fall. What could the tenants possibly be? Could Bon-Ton, which recently acquired stores from Saks Incorporated, plan an expansion into the Boston area? Or could Dillard's take advantage of the millions of abandoned square feet in the northeast to launch a massive invasion? Either way, it looks as if the "lifestyle center" plans may be off the table. The mall plans to have a decision by spring.
  • Additionally, the story also comments that when the Filene's at The Mall at Chestnut Hill becomes a Bloomingdales, the other Bloomies will not close. Rather, the free-standing Bloomingdales store, which sells women's apparel, will likely be sold or leased.
  • The story is online at http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2006/01/08/malls_ponder_retail_life_after_filenes/.
Parking Deck F coming soon
Written by Justin on January 11, 2006 at 11:07PM
  • The Natick Mall is planning to add another letter to the parking scenario. Along with Parking Garages A (near Macy's and Filene's), B (stretching from Sears to Macy's), C (stretching from Sears to Lord and Taylor), D (to be located outside of the future Nordstrom) and E (to be underground near the future Neiman Marcus), the mall will add F to the letter family. Parking Deck F, from the sound of the article, will be located either in the parking area just north of the Macy's entrance or on the site of the current Parking Deck B. Stay tuned for more updates.
  • In related news, construction on the Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus buildings is slated to begin in May. You can read more about these two stories at http://www.metrowestdailynews.com/localRegional/view.bg?articleid=118480.
Downtown Framingham Friendly's shuttered
Written by Justin on January 11, 2006 at 10:59PM
  • First, apologies for the lack of updates.
  • But there's big news in Downtown Framingham. The Friendly's restaurant on Union Avenue was closed at the end of Christmas Day. Located at 234 Union Avenue, the location had been open since 1966, and serves as a blow to downtown, leaving Dunkin Donuts as the only chain restaurant in the downtown Framingham area. The closing came as Friendly's shuttered nine of the worst performing locations in New England.
  • The building is listed for sale with DJM Asset Management; more information on that, including building floorprints, can be found online at http://www.djmasset.com/Property/northeastrestaurants/MA/FR128.htm. The MWDN also reports at http://www.metrowestdailynews.com/businessNews/view.bg?articleid=118550.
Happy New Year 2006!
Written by Justin on January 1, 2006 at 12:00AM
  • The 2005 Year in Review is up. Not much retail news going on, but when it does, we'll keep you updated.

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