CHICAGO (CBS) – Downtown shoppers have fewer choices than just a few weeks ago.
Two big stores are now closed, and another is set to shut its doors for good Saturday, CBS 2’s Dorothy Tucker reports.
The clock is ticking at the Loehmann’s on State Street. At 5 p.m. Saturday, the two-story, 35,000-square-foot store will close for good after the retailer filed for bankruptcy.
The empty storefront is right across the street from Block 37, which has struggled to fill its retail space because of legal problems. And it’s down the street from the old Carson’s building, which has been empty for years.
Analysts say rumors that Target will take over there is exactly what State Street needs. They say without a strong anchor it’s hard to attract new business.
“The issue for State Street has always been it’s enormously busy during the day, but it clears out at night and it’s tough on the weekends,” Neil Stern of McMillan Doolittle says.
Empty storefronts are also popping up on Chicago’s other major shopping spot, Michigan Avenue. Border’s closed last month, and Kenneth Cole took its sign down on Monday.
The Michigan Avenue location was one of 10 underperforming stores Kenneth Cole closed around the country. But Stern says, unlike State Street, it won’t be difficult to rent the vacant space on Michigan Avenue.
“Michigan Avenue has the wonderful advantage of being the marquee street in Chicago,” he says. “You have brands who are looking to get into the retail space, you have luxury retailers coming in.”
Stern says the Michigan store fronts will probably be rented in about six months. State Street could take a lot longer.
Loehmann’s does not plan a “going out of business” blowout downtown. Instead, the retailer is simply moving the merchandise to its other stores in the suburbs.