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Santa Barbara Macy’s Store in Paseo Nuevo Reportedly Closing By End of 2017

No specific closing date has been announced yet for one of the city’s largest retailers

Shoppers pass the Paseo Nuevo Macy’s store in downtown Santa Barbara Wednesday. Click to view larger
Shoppers pass the Paseo Nuevo Macy’s store in downtown Santa Barbara Wednesday. (Sam Goldman / Noozhawk photo)

The Santa Barbara Macy’s department store in the Paseo Nuevo shopping mall will close by the end of the year, the company announced Wednesday.

Store closures are planned all over the country, and one of the locations to be shuttered this year is the Paseo Nuevo store at 701 State St., according to a Macy’s statement.

The 141,000-square-foot store opened in 1990 when the shopping mall was completed. 

Paseo Nuevo found out about the planned closure on Wednesday, said Mary Lynn Harms-Romo, the mall’s marketing and specialty leasing manager. She said Paseo Nuevo has not yet spoken with the store about the closure.

“In light of the announced Macy’s closing at Paseo Nuevo, our priority remains on our tenants, their employees and the community we serve,” the mall said in a statement Wednesday.

“While the Macy’s vacancy provides an opportunity for us to rebalance with more service-based retailers, restaurants and dynamic office space, which will ensure we continue to thrive, our biggest concern is with Macy’s employees in Santa Barbara.”

Macy's reportedly plans to close 100 of its stores across the country, and announced 68 of them on Wednesday, including the downtown Santa Barbara store.

There is also a Macy's store in La Cumbre Plaza, at 3805 State St., and another in the Santa Maria Town Center, neither of which is listed in the closures as of Wednesday.

The retail giant announced disappointing holiday sales, and said that part of its plans to revitalize the company include eliminating management positions. Some 6,200 workers are expected to be cut from its workforce, the company said, including 77 from Santa Barbara.

“To assist with their job transition, we’ve joined with community business leaders to provide a job fair for these hard-working employees and others looking for new employment opportunities in 2017,” Paseo Nuevo said in a statement.

“In partnership with the City of Santa Barbara we are taking this opportunity to reinvent and retrofit the classic shopping destination with a new look and some exciting changes. We will be repositioning and investing in the center to focus on our target customers and expand the guest experience. The Macy’s closure provides more options to enhance an already vibrant and popular shopping and dining destination with something that better meets the needs of our Santa Barbara community,” the statement said.

Big vacancies in a shifting retail landscape tend to prompt concern among residents over what will take a closing store’s place, said Ken Oplinger, president of the Santa Barbara Chamber of Commerce.

Since people don’t yet know what will become of the site, he added, “I think all of that is going to cause consternation, it’s going to cause people to be concerned, and rightfully so.”

Macy’s, along with fellow department store Nordstrom, anchor the mall and is one of downtown’s draws, Oplinger said.

One potential effect, he noted, could be fewer people coming downtown.

Noozhawk staff writer Sam Goldman can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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