More changes in store for mall


One store is leaving while another new one is under constuction at Golden East Crossing mall.


By Corey Davis
Staff Writer

Monday, October 10, 2016

A shopping mall-based specialty retailer of casual apparel and accessories for teenagers is in the process of closing at Golden East Crossing mall, while the construction continues on an electronics, furniture, mattress and appliance store slated to open early next year.

Shannon Mullinax, director of leasing at Hendon Properties, which owns the mall, said Aeropostale is set to shut down in the mall. However, she added, the company hasn’t given a confirmed closing date. Currently, Aeropostale has ongoing closing sales happening at the store.

Recently, a consortium led by mall operators Simon Property Group and General Growth Properties won an auction for the assets of Aeropostle with a plan to keep open 229 of the bankrupt teen retailers’s 800 stores, according to reports. After 13 consecutive quarters of losses, reports said, New York-based Aéropostale filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in May with assets of $354 million and joined other mall-based retailers that have struggled to compete with big-box chains and online merchants.

“Aeropostale has been purchased, and they are restructuring at the corporate level,” Mullinax said. “Unfortunately, that means closing some locations, including Golden East Crossing mall. The closure is not unique to our mall, but part of a global chain issue.”

Bed Bath & Beyond is another tenant the mall is also set to lose. Earlier this year, Leah Drill, senior associate of public relations at Bed Bath & Beyond, said because its lease is set to expire, company officials decided to close the store inside Golden East Crossing in the fall.

Drill said local shoppers can go to nearby Bed Bath & Beyond at Raleigh Road Parkway West in Wilson or shop online. Mullinax said mall officials are pushing to recruit and bring new tenants to occupy the empty spaces.

“Our efforts are focused on replacements — we are actually in discussions with several national tenants currently,” she said. “In the same way, we replaced Sears with Dunham Sports and Best Buy with Conn’s (HomePlus), we are confident we will find a replacement for Bed, Bath & Beyond. We hope that the shoppers in Rocky Mount will continue to support the mall. Unfortunately, we have no control over the retailers and their respective business plans. The viability of the market and the public support are critical to a retailers success.”

Mall patrons are bracing for the arrival of new tenant, Texas-based Conn’s HomePlus. While mall officials initially said the store would open in the fall, the estimated opening date is now Feb. 3, Mullinax said. Steve Spiegel, a development partner at Hendon Properties, said Conn’s HomePlus will occupy 44,000 square feet of space. The new building will combine both spaces previously occupied by the Best Buy and Petco stores.

Conn’s HomePlus has signed a 10-year lease to move into Golden East Crossing, Spiegel said.

“Conn’s will offer to our community an excellent replacement for Best Buy,” Mullinax said. “Conn’s has furniture, appliances, mattresses, and electronics for your home, with many brand choices. They offer financing, next day delivery, top brands and a low price guarantee within 30 days.”