The Sears at Willow Grove Park will soon close, bringing an end to an era while raising more questions on the vitality of big-box stores.
Sears spokesperson Larry Costello confirmed the closure Thursday.
"Transformco plans to close the Sears store located in Willow Grove in order to redevelop and reinvigorate the property," Costello said. "This is part of the company’s strategy to unlock the value of the real estate and pursue the highest and best use for the benefit of the local community."
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Transformco manages Sears and a number of other brands, including Kmart, Shop Your Way, Kenmore, Craftsman at Sears, DieHard, Sears Auto Center and Sears Home Services.
The planned closure comes at a time of slumping sales for the outlet and decreased foot traffic at the mall, and leaves Sears with just three locations in Pennsylvania.
"Building off the regional draw of the mall and our existing tenant, Primark, there is strong redevelopment potential for this site,” said Scott Carr, president of Real Estate for Transformco. “We intend to reinvigorate and maximize the value of the real estate to meet the needs of the Willow Grove market.”
Officials with mall owner Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust could not immediately be reached for comment.
In November, Philadelphia-based PREIT posted a net loss of $44.6 million, or 56 cents per share, for the three months ended Sept. 30. That compared to a deficit of $35.7 million, or 45 cents per share, for the same period of 2020.
Revenues were $71.7 million for the quarter ended Sept. 30, up from $64.1 million a year earlier.
Willow Grove opened in 1982 on the site of the former Willow Grove Amusement Park.
Last year, officials announced a lease has been executed with Tilted 10 and Tilt Studio for an action-packed bi-level 104,000-square -foot indoor family entertainment center to replace the former JC Penney at Willow Grove and in June has over 97 percent occupancy, according to PREIT's website.
Costello said details of the redevelopment of Willow Grove will be announced as go-forward plans are finalized.
The strategy will include plans for Sears and Kmart to operate a diversified portfolio consisting of a small number of larger, premier stores with a larger number of small format stores, combined with its Shop Your Way rewards program, online marketplace and buy online, pick up in store capabilities, Costello said. The company will continue to explore both Hometown Stores and Home and Life stores in cities and towns that previously had larger format stores.
This article originally appeared on Bucks County Courier Times: Sears to close in Willow Grove mall as developer plans redevelopment