• October 30, 2014

Iowa State Daily

Sears to close in July, mall to expand space

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Posted: Thursday, May 24, 2007 12:00 am

Yellow signs proclaiming "Everything must go!" are displayed throughout Sears in an effort to sell all of its merchandise before the store closes in a few months.

By July 31, Sears, 2701 Grand Ave., will no longer be a part of North Grand Mall, 2801 Grand Ave., and will be leaving Ames because of "business reasons," said Kimberly Freely, manager of corporate public relations for Sears Holdings Corp.

Sears is having a going-out-of-business sale, with most items throughout the store ranging from 15 to 30 percent off. The automotive and photo departments are the only exceptions.

North Grand Mall is moving forward from this loss by focusing on attracting other retailers not currently offered in Ames, said Marianne Fasano, spokesperson for GK Development Inc., the Illinois-based company that owns the mall. North Grand Mall is also possibly looking at incorporating the vacant Sears space into the new, open-air lifestyle addition, "The Streets of North Grand."

Although Sears is leaving, the Ames economy will survive.

"I don't think it will have a meaningful impact on the Ames economy," said David Swenson, associate scientist of economics in agriculture.

Swenson said when Sears does close, the regional income will stay relatively constant.

"The only thing that has changed is how many there are that are selling those goods," he said. "Most of the sales that would have been at Sears will go somewhere else in the area."

The real loss to the Ames economy is the jobs Sears provided and the vacant space that will be left in the mall when Sears is gone, Swenson said.

"That's a big store in the mall. If that remains vacant, there will be a net loss of employment for that site," said Peter Orazem, university professor of economics in liberal arts and sciences.

The economy did not affect the closure of Sears, Orazem said.

"Sears is having problems that are unrelated to Ames," Orazem said.

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