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Sears closing at Fairfield Commons Mall, new stores announced for space

The Sears store at the Mall at Fairfield Commons will close later this year, the company announced Tuesday, but the Beavercreek mall’s owner said the store will quickly be replaced by two tenants in 2019.

The Sears location will close in early December, with liquidation sales beginning Friday, said Sears spokesman Howard Riefs. Just a month ago, store officials said the Dayton Mall location will close in November.

“We are making the difficult, but necessary decision to close the Sears store in Beavercreek … We have been strategically and aggressively evaluating our store space and productivity, and have accelerated the closing of unprofitable stores as previously announced,” Riefs said.

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Two news tenants — a furniture store and an entertainment venue — will replace the Beavercreek Sears once it closes, said Kristie Miller, general manager of the mall and regional manager for the shopping center’s owner Washington Prime Group.

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The bottom floor of the Sears store will be a new-to-the-market Round1 Entertainment, an experience-based dining and entertainment concept with karaoke, ping-pong, bowling and arcade games similar to Dave & Busters.

The only other Ohio Round1 store is in Mentor, Ohio.

Above Round1, the upper floor of the Sears store will filled with furniture store The Room Place.

The store that offers a “total-room concept to furniture shopping” started in Chicago in 1912, and has expanded into Indianapolis and soon to Dayton with the stores at Fairfield Commons and the Dayton Mall.

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“When an outstanding furniture retailer with a venerable 100-year history takes vacated department store space, let’s just say if I were an emoji kind of person, there’d be a smiley face or two illustrating our happiness,” said Washington Prime CEO Lou Conforti when announcing the store in July.

Together, the stores will occupy more than 100,000 square feet.

Large vacant spaces pose challenges for shopping centers as few department stores are looking to expand and consumer shopping habits change.

But Washington Prime has been able to redevelop vacancies relatively quickly at the Beavercreek mall. In addition to having tenants lined up for a Sears store before the company made an official announcement, the mall found success when an Elder-Beerman furniture store closed in 2015. At that time, mall owners knocked down the store and replaced it with outward facing restaurants, including BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse, Chuy’s Tex-Mex and Bravo!

The mall has yet to announce a new store for the vacant Elder-Beerman location that closed in August.

This is the second Dayton-area Sears store to announce that it will be closing, with the Miami Twp. Dayton Mall store set to close in November.

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Sears has been struggling in recent months as it aims to keep up with e-commerce retailers like Amazon and changing consumer habits. The department store that was America’s number one retailer based on sales for decades has announced back-to-back rounds of closures to stay afloat and avoid filing for bankruptcy.

Aside from the Dayton Mall’s Auto Center closing last year and the Trotwood Sears store on Salem Avenue closing in 2013, the Dayton area has largely escaped the chopping block each time a new round of closures was announced — until recently.

There is still a Sears store in Springfield. After the two recently announced Ohio closures, the state will have 46 Sears and Sears Auto Center stores left, according the company’s website. However the state has been purged of Kmart stores, with only 12 left and none in the Dayton region after the last one closed in 2017.

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