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BREAKING: Macy's Closing Iconic Belmont Center Store

After more than 70 years on the site, center to see the end of retail presence.

After anchoring retail in Belmont Center for more than 70 years, Macy's Inc. announced today, Jan. 3 it will be closing its Belmont store.

Rumored to be on of verge of shutting down for more than a decade due to its size – one of the smallest of the 800 Macy's in the continential US at 75,000 square-feet (the Macy's at the nearby Burlington Mall is 255,000 square feet) – and location, that official word came in a press release issued this morning in which the company announced a number of closing and expansions across the country.

Calling it a "detailed a series of normal-course adjustments to its portfolio of Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s stores," Macy's CFO Karen M. Hoguet said that today's actions "leads us to open new stores where we see the opportunity to fill gaps in important markets, as well as to make the tough decision to selectively close underperforming stores that no longer meet our performance requirements or where leases are not being renewed.”

Macy's employeed 101 associates at the Belmont store.

Final clearance sales will begin Monday, Jan. 7 and run for between seven and 11 weeks, according to Macy's.

“We valued Macy’s as a tenant. Macy’s (formerly Filene’s) has had a long history in Belmont," said Kevin Foley, the manager of Locatelli Properties.

"While Filene’s and Macy’s prospered for many years in the Center, it no longer fits with Macy’s model. We continue the relationship and to extend Macy’s tenure here in Belmont, but this decision was beyond our control.”  

Many generations of Belmont residents enjoyed the convenience of having a major department store located in their town, a throwback to a retail experience before malls replaced town centers as a shopping destination.

Macy's came to Belmont six-and-a-half years ago when then-owner Federated Department Stores converted the existing Filene's department store, a staple of Belmont Center's commerce for more than 60 years, into its flagship operation in September 2006.

Belmont has had a department store in the Center since before the US entered World War II when Filene's opened its doors on May 3, 1941.

The current four-level store located at 75 Leonard St. was opened in 1978.

The Belmont Center store is one of final "main street" department stores in the Macy's inventory. Today, nearly all of department stores are situated in shopping malls with the exception of the main store in New York City's Herald Square.

Belmont Center also saw national retailer The Gap shut its doors in the mid-2000s.

The store is also part of retail and aviation history when in 1944 it was the first department store to have merchandise delivered by helicopter.

In a press release, Locatelli Properties said it has begun discussions with a number of potential tenants who might occupy the site. 

"Because of the size and configuration of the location, the company would like to find a single tenant to replace Macy’s as the anchor tenant for Belmont Center. Foley said.

“We would like to see a vibrant Center supported by a strong anchor tenant, but to get such a tenant, the Town will need to continue to improve parking.” 

“Our goal in identifying a new tenant is threefold: to create a continued anchor that draws Belmont residents to downtown and supports the overall business community, to meet the needs of local residents and to find a tenant that shares our commitment to the community,” Foley said.

Headquartered in Cincinnati and New York, Macy's Inc. is one of the nation’s premier retailers, with fiscal 2011 sales of $26.4 billion. The Macy’s brand operates about 800 Macy’s department stores and furniture galleries in 45 states, the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico, as well as the website, macys.com. Prior to June 2007, Macy’s, Inc. was known as Federated Department Stores. 

Kimberly Becker January 03, 2013 at 03:21 PM
I am not sure how much I will miss Macys, as they have allowed it to become very mediocre, but I am sad that we are forced to go to shopping malls and that Main Street is not being used for this kind of shopping any longer.
tess_shiva January 03, 2013 at 05:49 PM
While I never liked their women's departments, we most of my husband's and son's clothes there - they carried better brand names in the men's departments (perhaps bec men like to shop once and get it over with?!). Now, I'll have to schlep to the mall - and I DETEST the mall!
Think Free January 03, 2013 at 06:21 PM
I wonder if it has anything to do with that nutbag Donald Trumps whacko unamerican statements!
John Bowe January 03, 2013 at 06:36 PM
I think I'll miss it in the abstract more than practical, though we do (uh, did...) buy from there a few times / year. It has gotten quite sad and run-down the past few years, making me think they were going to abandon it. No more places in Belmont to buy men's clothes now, right? Any bets on yet another bank opening?
Bonnie Friedman January 03, 2013 at 06:38 PM
So sad. It's not like I went often. But having a Macy's allowed me to almost always find what I needed in Belmont without having to drive to a mall; all within walking distance of home!
Mary T January 03, 2013 at 08:54 PM
Oh my goodness. I was just in there yesterday and said to my daughter..."the place is looking real dumpy. It needs a complete overhaul." And I just moved to Belmont. I have shopped there for years. It's such a great place to shop. No problem parking, convenient, helpful staff. It's really sad. Everything that's good ends up disappearing. Let's see what could go in that space?... A bank, another restaurant, more expensive boutiques or a real estate office!
Mary T January 03, 2013 at 08:55 PM
I detest the mall too tess_shiva! UGH.
Robert Berberian January 03, 2013 at 08:56 PM
Change is always good as long as it is a good change, most likely the store will be dived , it would be nice to get another anchor in Belmont ctr. . Belmont Ctr. is turning into a food court , we need more retail. I am sure the landlord will do what is Best for Belmont
Mary T January 03, 2013 at 08:58 PM
Victor was great! I always looked for him when I shopped. As well as all the nice ladies in the shoe department. What a coincidence...I just closed my account there due to some sleazy billing practices. Bye Bye Macy's, formerly Filene's.
Janice Fairchild January 04, 2013 at 02:40 AM
I will miss Macy's as it saved me many trips to the mall. Victor will be missed as will many of the sales personnel who seem so familiar! I hope that another retail store takes Macy's place, but it seems unlikely! It would be great to have a Marshalls...
PAL January 04, 2013 at 07:06 PM
Rose Mead drove the place into the ground. She treated the workers like DIRT.
Belmont Resident January 04, 2013 at 07:48 PM
Corporate Greed! I'm sorry about all the personnel that live locally that are over 50+ and have now lost their livelihood
Victor Agius January 05, 2013 at 01:00 AM
Rose is one of the best managers the store has had. Of all the managers that were Rose is only one of three that you would call outstanding; there is not an associate in the store that does not adore and admire her. Obviously PAL has no clue what they are talking about
Cyndy-Lou January 05, 2013 at 05:38 PM
I agree with everyone .... Victor was my favorite employee! Always cheerful and helpful!
Viking January 08, 2013 at 10:23 AM
Nearly all of the people who worked in the store have become friends -- they all worked hard and were so helpful and cheerful -- Araxi, Victor, and many others. While no store could not have filled all our shopping needs, it was a tremendous convenience to be able to find so much so close, and not have to go to the malls. We have bought so many things there over the years -- shoes, accessories, casual clothing, even pillows etc. when the store had furnishings. Very sorry to see this Belmont landmark leave.
Lee Lees January 30, 2013 at 05:23 PM
It may not mean a lot to some people but i grew up in that store. I sat on Santa's lap in the back when he use to visit. Major Mudd was even there and my brother threw a pie in his face. I knew everyone that worked there and it was like family. It was cozy, warm, easy to go in and out, parking and a feeling of community. I got my first pare of hip huggers there and my first set of shoes. My aunt use to get her hair done upstairs. It is the only store you can to go without shlupping to a Mall. I loved Filene's and Macy's. It is a major loss for Belmont and the center.
Victor Agius February 02, 2013 at 10:33 PM
Donald Trump is hardly whacko and definitely not un American. Not only has he beautified the New York sky line over two decades he has also created millions of jobs for New Yorkers. He created his wealth the old fashioned way, he earned it.
Victor Agius February 02, 2013 at 11:35 PM
There are two guarantees in life, according to Ben Franklin, death and taxes. May I suggest a third; Filene's/Macys in Belmont. There is no doubt that 75 Leonard street attracted customers who were as economically and diverse as the associates and managers who worked there, just look in the parking lot. (our enormous shoulders were always available for your tears) Where else can you suddenly add to your purchase by travelling across the department to pick up something else and leave your open purse on the counter and know that it was perfectly safe? Even those we empower with our safety in the town believe it is a decision that is somewhat less than outstanding. We watched your tinniest beginnings and then were eye witnesses as you matured through adulthood and then marriage and then more beginnings regardless of who you were. Yes we were always there for you and we only charged you for the merchandise. There is not a customer anywhere who does not say, listen "I hate going to the mall I am a nobody up there; In Belmont I was always family, somebody a name merchandise was not thrust on me.
Susan Fraser February 06, 2013 at 05:02 PM
I am very sad to see this store close. I have enjoyed this store since I was a little girl. I hate going to the Mall and always enjoyed going right down the street. Its an end to a great era. I will miss all who worked there as well.
Victor Agius February 07, 2013 at 01:25 AM
And I shall miss you Susan Fraser. Your caring your conversation your humor your sharing I shall miss all of that. Whenever I saw you in the store I looked forward to 15 minutes to half an hour of you telling me what you wanted finding it for you and the most spirited conversation. For that is what the store is all about. Au revoir sweet friend until the next time. I look forward to our next meeting before March 31st.
Catie February 16, 2013 at 08:45 PM
What a loss. Everytime I went shopping there, for the last 30 years, it was like stepping back in time. It was wonderful. You didn't have to rush around and go crazy. The sales people were wonderful, every department. I did most of my Xmas shopping there. I hate going to the malls.
Victor Agius February 17, 2013 at 01:19 PM
For more years than I care to remember I would write a poem based on Twas the night before Christmas glorifying every associate and manager in the store. I would then read it to the entire store before Christmas. Space prevents me from writing it here, however, but mentioning all the names and saying thank you some how seems most appropriate: Elaine, Barbara, Patty Barbara, Susan, Lilyan, Sarah, Betty, Colleen, Bobby, Victor, Shirley, Ed, Albert, Yong Barbara, Steve, Patty, Marie, Irene, Rose, Allison, Marie, Mark, Dana, Leigh, Kathy, Nadia, Eric, Camille, Natalie, Leslie, Despina, Jeannie, Glory, Ilhame, Rachael, Paula, Renee, Mayda, Katia, Tagoosh, Aroxie, Mindy ,Maureen, Ruby, Sunna, Jean, Mary, Margrit, Diana, Cathy, Carol, Nancy, Katherine, Helen, Fafa, Kenny, Costache, Henry, Gabe, Bryce, Jessica, Lissette, Effie, Zabel, Vilda, Heather, Mai, Donna; Your daily search search for excellence found kept your feet firmly on the ground. Amen
Victor Agius February 20, 2013 at 11:21 AM
ok dudes, we know its coming. The final day(s) of Filenes/macys in Belmont. So why not say goodbye the fun way. Past and present associates and customers come together in the store or parking lot and say goodbye and reminisce and may be some good old fashion PDA, that means hugs and kisses and everybody tell everybody how these past umpteen years were the best years of our lives. Well it is up to us.
Linda T February 27, 2013 at 03:19 PM
Victor you are the best
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Belmont Resident April 27, 2013 at 05:44 PM
Its really sad to see Macy's closed, it was convenient location for shopping - plus I dont' like going to malls. They should bring retail to this location. I believe that a lot of the surrounding business in Belmont Center will suffer due to the closing of Macy's.
Enrique Corts April 29, 2013 at 08:03 PM
So sad to heard Macy´s is closing, every time I go to Boston, I had to make a stop to that store. Women Department most of the time didn´t had go clothes, for men was different, I had a few clothes from that Macy´s last time I went, was December, 2012 I got a very nice jacket for a good price. I live in Mexico City, mya sister lives in Belmont with her family and we went very often there I know their staff will no longer be relocated to another store. Good luck to everyone, and widhing they´ll be relocated somewhere else.

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