Childress Klein, the company that manages and leases store space in Berkeley Mall, has received preliminary interest from several companies concerning the soon-to-be-vacant Sears store.
Britt Byrne, senior leasing director for Childress Klein, said it is too early in the process to comment further.
“Anchors, whether they be traditional department stores — like Belk or J.C. Penney — or other high-volume users like restaurants and entertainment centers, are the cornerstones of malls and other large retail centers,” Byrne said. “They are the primary generators of customer traffic to the property. They offer a broad and sometimes unique assortment of goods and/or create an experience that draws customers in.
“As Sears struggled over the past few years its customer traffic declined. Fortunately Berkeley Mall has other significant anchors including two Belk stores, J.C. Penney and JoAnn Fabrics and Crafts.”
Byrne said there had been no prior indication of the closure other than that Sears has been closing stores and struggling financially for several years.
The company found out about the pending closure in news reports published Oct. 15 that Sears had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, Byrne said.
The Goldsboro store is one 142 unprofitable stores Sears Holdings Corp. announced it will close in addition to the previously announced closure of 46 unprofitable stores. The closures are expected to be complete in November.
Sears stores in Fayetteville and Pineville, near Charlotte, will close as well.
Sears Holding Co. officials have not yet announced when liquidation sales will start.
The 74,000-square-foot Sears store was built in 1968 and the mall in 1975.
The mall, owned by Berkeley Mall, has 37 stores plus restaurants and outparcels, Byrne said.
Its overall square footage is 460,000 plus restaurants and outparcels.
The mall’s occupancy rate is 98.75 percent with three small units vacant, Byrne said.
Sears and Kmart stores, and its online and mobile platforms, are remaining open and continue to offer a full range of products and services to members and customers, according to a statement from Sears Holdings.
Customers should expect Sears Holdings’ loyalty programs, including the Shop Your Way membership program, and the Sears and private label credit card rewards programs, to continue as normal, according to the statement.
Sears officials said the company intends to continue payment of employee wages and benefits, honor member programs and pay vendors and suppliers in the ordinary course for all goods and services provided on or after the filing date.