Business Brief: Major Retailers Shutting Stores In Northeast Florida
As retailers retool because of online shopping, competition and other factors, stores are closing in Jacksonville.
Our Jacksonville Daily Record news partner reports Victoria’s Secret closed after business Monday night at Regency Square Mall, and Williams-Sonoma is shutting its St. Johns Town Center Store this month.
Victoria's Secret is a longtime tenant at Regency and was one of the few national tenants remaining at the struggling Arlington mall.
At Town Center, Williams-Sonoma is one of the original tenants in the 14-year-old development.
Also at St. Johns Town Center, Tesla closed its showroom and Gymboree is going out of business.
Charlotte Russe is closing in Northeast Florida, too.
CNBC.com reported Saturday that 4,810 store closures have been announced by retailers in 2019, according to Coresight Research.
Last year, Coresight tracked 5,524 store closures, down more than 30 percent from the record 8,139 closures announced in 2017.
In Northeast Florida:
• Victoria’s Secret closed in Regency Square Mall, sending inventory to its stores in The Avenues and at St. Johns Town Center. It did not post at the store that it was closing nor did it have a closing sale.
Boxes stacked in the store Sunday were marked for distribution to the other two stores in the area. On Monday, goods were displayed for purchase while staff was taking stock of the inventory.
L Brands Inc., which operates the lingerie chain, said in February that it planned to close 53 stores but did not release a list of those that will be shut.
It said those closed will be based on “current and projected performance, sales, profit, cash flow.”
• Williams-Sonoma is closing its housewares store at the 14-year-old St. Johns Town Center, where it was an original tenant. “Thank you,” says a sign in the window at 4712 River City Drive.
“We will be closing this location. We apologize for any inconvenience and invite you to visit or call us at our nearby location,” says the sign, directing customers to the stores at The Mall at Millenia in Orlando and at Park Avenue in Winter Park.
A store employee said the store will close March 24 and the company wanted to open in another Jacksonville location but had not decided where.
A “Store Closing Sale Event” asks customers to “help us lighten our load” with savings on select merchandise. The discount Saturday was 30 percent. The company has not responded to emails for comment.
Landlord Simon refers questions to Williams-Sonoma.
If the store wants to remain in the Town Center area, there is space, such as the closed Thomasville furniture building, the Toys R Us space and other vacancies.
• The Tesla showroom sat empty and closed at St. Johns Town Center over the weekend. The luxury electric car brand opened there in late 2015 but Tesla announced in late February that it was shifting sales to online only.
Tesla removed its electric cars and shut the doors at its former showroom at St. Johns Town Center.
The sign in the window at 4835 River City Drive says: “All Tesla Sales Now Online.”
"We will be closing some stores, some reduction in headcount as a result - there's no question about that. I wish there was some other way. Unfortunately, it will entail a reduction in force on the retail side. There's no way around it," said Tesla CEO Elon Musk, according a report at CNBC.com.
In a blog post Tesla emphasized that shifting sales to online only would enable it to sell its Model 3 vehicles for the base model price of $35,000.
That thinking changed over the weekend. On Monday, after closing about 10 percent of it stores, Tesla said it might reopen a few locations but with fewer employees.
Forbes.com reported that Tesla said 20 percent of the remaining sites are under scrutiny to see if the company wants to keep them open.
It also said it would raise prices except on the base model $35,000 Model 3.
• Gymboree is closing its children’s clothing stores, including those in Northeast Florida at St. Johns Town Center, The Avenues Mall and the St. Augustine Premium Outlets.
ChicagoTribune.com reported in January that Gymboree filed for bankruptcy protection for a second time in two years and will close all its Gymboree and Crazy 8 stores.
Its website says it is the final week to shop online.
• In February, the Charlotte Russe women's fashion retailer filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and said it would close 94 stores and put itself up for sale. In a statement to USA Today, it said it was liquidating its inventory. Its online store has closed.
Its Jacksonville area stores are at The Markets at Town Center, The Avenues mall and the Orange Park Mall.
• Retailer J.C. Penney Co. Inc. will close its St. Augustine department store in the Ponce de Leon Mall effective July 5. It is one of the 18 department stores the company said it will shutter by midyear.
• Payless ShoeSource filed for bankruptcy in February and is closing its stores across North America.
Other chains have announced closures, according to CNBC.com and other reports, but have not announced the status of their stores in Northeast Florida:
• Gap Inc. is planning to close 230 stores over the next two years. This fiscal year, Gap said it expects to close about 50 company-owned clothing stores. A spokeswoman said the company was “continuing to finalize the list of specific stores that will be closed.”
• Abercrombie & Fitch Co. said it plans to close up to 40 stores during fiscal 2019, after closing 29 locations last year. The company has been working toward reducing the size of its stores and remodeling existing locations. Abercrombie also said it plans to open additional stores this year, to make up for the closures, after opening 22 stores in 2018. The company's brands include Hollister.
• Chico's said in its March 6 earnings report that it intends to close at least 250 stores in the U.S. over the next three years. Those comprise about 100 Chico's, 90 White House Black Market and 60 Soma locations, with the majority of the closings occurring in years two and three. In fiscal 2019, it expects to close 60 to 80 stores.
• Dollar Tree plans to close 390 Family Dollar stores this year while it renovates 1,000 other locations.