Downtown Macy’s closing

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Illustration by Rebecca Savinski

By Kalli Wolf, Staff Writer

After 42 years, the building that currently houses Macy’s will be empty come March. The closure will be one of 40 throughout the country due to underperformance.

The downtown Macy’s employs 94 people. The store was opened in 1974 as the Bon Marché and occupies 374,000 square feet. The area surrounding Macy’s is currently under renovation, which includes the construction of an Urban Outfitters.

Fleming said she found out the store was closing through a text she received from her friend.

“All [of] the employees, even the store and department managers, didn’t know it was going to happen until it was basically announced to the public,” Fleming said.

EWU student Shelly Fleming said she was annoyed upon finding out this information. “I love my cosmetic team, and with this specific location, management was very flexible [around] my busy class schedule,” she said. Fleming was offered a transfer position at a different Macy’s but said she was not aware of the details regarding other employees.

Regarding the closure, EWU senior Chase Crouch said, “I felt the store was in need of a renovation.” He also said he does not see it as a huge loss for the community but does feel bad for the current employees and the situation they are in.

Fleming said she feels differently about the closure. “I feel that in general it’s a sad situation for downtown Spokane. It’s an iconic company that has been part of downtown for decades,” she said.

Chairman and CEO of Macy’s Inc. Terry J. Lundgren was quoted in a recent press release. “In light of our disappointing 2015 sales and earnings performance, we are making adjustments to become more efficient and productive in our operations. Moreover, we believe we can operate more effectively with an organization that is flatter and more agile,” he said.

According to the press release, “The 36 Macy’s stores being closed in early 2016, along with four others closed in the final three quarters of 2015, account for approximately $375 million in annual sales, some of which are expected to be retained in nearby stores and with online/mobile sales.”

Macy’s also said associates displaced by store closings may be offered transfer positions to nearby stores if possible and severance benefits will be offered to eligible full-time and part-time associates who were laid off as a result of these closings.