Sears departure stings mall

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Lafayette Square MallThe decision by Sears Holding Co. to close its store at Lafayette Square Mall could deal a serious blow to efforts by a New York company to revitalize the 1.2-million-square-foot property. In a notice filed with the state, Sears blamed “a change in business circumstances” for its decision to lay off 110 employees and close the department store and automotive center by Jan. 11, 2009. The move, reported in Friday’s IBJ Daily, is a major setback for the mall’s new owner, Ashkenazy Acquisition Corp., which has been working to stem an exodus of retailers since it bought the property from Simon Property Group late last year. The company is investing $12 million in a revamp (shown here) that includes a go-kart track and amusement center to replace one of two already-vacant anchor spaces. Mall spokeswoman Amanda Royalty said Sears hasn’t made any official announcement. “We don’t anticipate we’ll have the space empty,” she said. Sears isn’t the only retailer struggling. In fact, many are pinning their last hopes on a holiday season that could be grim. Are there any stores you think won’t make it?

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