Can Shenango Valley Mall survive Macy’s, Sears closures?

The Macy's in the Shenango Valley Mall in Hermitage will close in 2017.

HERMITAGE, Pa. (WYTV/WCMH/AP) – With Macy’s announcing the closure of its Shenango Valley Mall location six days after the Sears there said it would close, shoppers are wondering how the mall will stay afloat.

The Hermitage Macy’s will close sometime this year, possibly as early as this spring, putting 69 employees out of work.

This now sets the stage for over 200 combined Macy’s and Sears locations to close in the spring.

Customers are calling it another big hit for the Hermitage community.

“I liked Macy’s. I was just in here last week, and that’s why I’m so surprised because one of the people told me they wouldn’t know anything for three more weeks. So three weeks must have come early,” Debbie Sonoga said.

When 33 WYTV News talked to Shenango Valley Mall shoppers after Sears announced its closure, they were still optimistic that big-name stores like Macy’s and JCPenney would help the mall survive.

“Any closure is a detriment to the mall down at this end but at the other end with Macy’s and Penney’s being there, I hope the other parts will stay,” Carolyn Gonano said Friday.

Shenango Valley Mall General Manager Paul Vidwan said the news is disappointing, but mall management is seeing it as an opportunity to turn the mall around. Vidwan said they have a few stores in mind for the space.

“It’s sad. I grew up here and have shopped here my whole life,” Jessica Vana said. “We were just inside looking and there’s nothing there.”

Macy’s said it is eliminating over 10,000 jobs and plans to move forward with 68 store closures after a disappointing holiday shopping season.

Locations at the Beaver Valley Mall in Monaca and Fort Steuben Mall in Steubenville will also close in 2017.

Two locations in the Columbus area, at Eastland Mall and the Mall at Tuttle Crossing, will close this year as well.

Macy’s said it plans to close the stores, that are part of 100 closings announced in August, by midyear.

Final clearance sales at all of the stores affected by this round of closures will begin on January 9 and run for 8 to 12 weeks.

Macy’s said Wednesday that sales at established stores fell 2.1 percent in November and December compared to the same period last year. Macy’s Inc. pointed to changing consumer behavior and said it reflects challenges facing much of the retail industry. Shoppers are going online to buy almost everything.

The retailer also plans to restructure parts of its business and sell some properties.

The moves are estimated to save $550 million annually.

The department store chain also lowered its full-year earnings forecast.

Shares in Macy’s fell more than 8 percent in after-hours trading.