You win some, you lose some. Saks Fifth Avenue posted a press release on Earth Times today, announcing that Portland's Pioneer Place-located store will be completely closed by the end of July. I can't say I have money enough to have done much shopping there, but Saks was something of a Portland lifeline to designer shoes, for one thing. Even though they consistently bought more conservative styles for Portland, they were always willing to have the crazier styles transferred from other stores. But this news fills me with sorrow for downtown Portland more than for my shoe collection. How depressing and post-apocalyptic it will look to have such an enormous chunk of retail real estate sitting empty. I'll be very curious to see what becomes of it. And it's ultimately a good thing when the goliaths start to fall, right? It's what I've been yammering on about for years. In the meantime my heart goes out to the employees of the store:
Approximately 100 associates are employed in the two locations. All affected associates either will be offered transfer opportunities or will receive appropriate severance packages. Sadove added, “We are extremely appreciative of the dedicated Portland team, several of whom have been with Saks for many years. We will make every effort to provide needed assistance to our associates during this period.”
UPDATE! Mayor Sam Adams released a statement on the closure:
“The property owners, the Portland Development Commission and I made unprecedented outreach efforts to keep Saks in Portland,” said Portland Mayor Sam Adams. “But we could not overcome national trends buffeting higher end and luxury retailers and the fact that Saks’ Portland lease was up for renewal. My thoughts are with the affected employees and their families. Because we knew losing Saks was a possibility, we used our trips to New York City and Chicago, working with General Growth, to do in-person recruitment with possible replacement retailers,” said Mayor Adams. “We expect to announce within the coming weeks and months new retail offerings at Pioneer Place that we are confident will excite Portlanders.” Mayor Adams and Portland Development Commission Chair Scott Andrews coordinated Portland's efforts to retain the Portland Saks store with face-to-face meetings with the CEO of General Growth Properties in Chicago on August 10, 2009, owner of Pioneer Place. Mayor Adams and Chair Andrews then traveled to meet with Saks CEO Steve Sadove in New York City on August 27, 2009.
According to national retail expert David Leland, “Even though America’s retail is challenged by the recession, the fundamentals of downtown Portland’s retail district remain very strong. With national anchors such as Nordstrom’s, Macys, and Brooks Brothers and regionally significant retailers such as Marios, The Mercantile, and Columbia Sportswear to name a few; Portland’s retail infrastructure is solid.”
So nobody panic, OK??!!
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