Mike Lord remembers treating the Sears at Six Corners as a neighborhood hangout when he was a kid.
When his parents pushed to turn off the TV and get outside, he would sneak over to the store’s TV department to watch Cubs games.
“It was my babysitter when I couldn’t get friends together to play ball,” said Lord, 59, who was shopping at the store Friday and still lives a few blocks away.
The Six Corners store, on the edge of Chicago’s Portage Park neighborhood, will shut its doors for the last time Sunday, two months shy of its 80th anniversary. The closure is part of Sears effort to turn around its business after years of losses and declining sales, but when the store rings up its final sale, the city will lose one more link to a hometown company that used to be the world’s largest retailer.
Plans to redevelop the site already have been announced, but neighbors have seen a redevelopment across the street drag on. They’re waiting to see whether Six Corners, at the intersection of Milwaukee and Cicero avenues and Irving Park Road, can regain its status as a bustling retail district.
I’m going to miss Lord & Taylor like mad when the Fifth Avenue flagship closes next year. It isn’t only because of the unlikely bargains I scored on its often-deserted men’s floors — a red vinyl Perry Ellis-label jacket, marked down from $79.95 to $39.95 that strangers hilariously mistake for Armani, and a wool winter coat as good as any for $49.99.
I won’t miss the once-charming but more recently cheap-looking holiday windows that weren’t worth waiting on line for. But Lord & Taylor, like every big department store, offered a welcoming civility that softened the city’s rough edges. New York will be slightly less human without it, however obsolete its business model. Never again will the public enjoy the store’s grand main floor with its noble vaulted ceiling, arched mirrors and stately columns.
The shutdown is one of up to 10 Lord & Taylor closures of a total 50 stores planned by chain owner, Hudson’s Bay Company. It comes amidst a nationwide department store apocalypse. Hudson’s Bay, which owns 488 stores including Saks Fifth Avenue, is battling high debt, declining sales and falling stock prices.
Another industry giant, Macy’s Inc., which also owns Bloomingdale’s, has closed 14 percent of its stores since 2014, while its same-store sales in 2017 fell 4.3 percent compared with 2016. J.C. Penney closed 138 locations, or 14 percent of its stores, last year.
Jeffrey Roseman, vice chairman of Newmark Knight Frank’s retail-brokerage division, told The Post, “The need for an eight-story, multi-hundred-thousand square-foot department store in major cities is limited at best.”