Florence Mall officials on rumors: ‘We are not closing’

Rumors that the Florence Mall will close this spring have circulated on Facebook, prompting shares from Northern Kentucky residents lamenting the loss. 

a person standing in front of a store: A shopper walks by American Eagle Outfitters inside Florence Mall, Wednesday, May 20, 2020, in Florence, Ky.

© Kareem Elgazzar / The Enquirer
A shopper walks by American Eagle Outfitters inside Florence Mall, Wednesday, May 20, 2020, in Florence, Ky.

But officials say the mall isn’t going anywhere. 

“Florence Mall can confirm we are not closing. We are open for all your shopping and dining needs. Hope to see you soon and remember to Shop Local,” Mall officials said in a Facebook post on Monday. 

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According to the mall’s website, 91 stores, restaurants and boutiques are still operating in the mall.

The Florence Mall lost Sears, an anchor store, in 2018. 

J.C Penney, which filed for bankruptcy protection in May, is one of the most at-risk retailers in 2021, according to USA Today. 

Macy’s is also an at-risk retailer. The chain recently announced more closures, but the Florence location remains unscathed despite the Tri-County location closing.  

Other mall stores like Victoria’s Secret and Express also made USA TODAY’s list. 

Earlier this year, USA TODAY took a look at what it will take for malls to survive after the coronavirus pandemic after years of steady decline. 

“In 2021, the good malls will continue to do well,” said Neil Saunders, managing director of the retail consultancy GlobalData. “It’s the weaker ones that will suffer…The future of the mall isn’t doomed or completely redundant. It’s just that 2021 will be a year of reckoning for underperforming properties.”

For years, a shift toward e-commerce has closed retailers, leading to more empty spaces in malls.

According to a recent CoStar report, more than 40 major retailers have declared bankruptcy and more than 11,000 stores were announced for closure in 2020, which beats past store closings records.

More store closures are on the horizon, with 1,444 already expected in 2021 as compared to 1,625 openings, according to Coresight Research.

And mall occupancy rates hit 94.4{85e7f5b37d2b3b32ff943ebdbb52de90edc4132ca8c2134f6732351e5442126f} during the second quarter of 2020, their lowest level in at least ten years, according to CoStar Group, which tracks real estate.

Ultimately, 1 in 4 malls and as many as 1 in 2 could eventually go out of business, according to projections by Coresight analysts and executives.

USA TODAY contributed to this article. 

This article originally appeared on Cincinnati Enquirer: Florence Mall officials on rumors: ‘We are not closing’

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