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.