The Sears department store in The Mall at Sears will become host to a Nordstrom Rack location next year, the two retail chains announced Wednesday.
According to a statement from Carr Gottstein Properties, which owns much of the mall, the current Sears-owned Midtown store will shrink to accommodate a 35,000-square-foot location of Nordstrom’s outlet brand in what is now Sears’ north end by fall 2015. Nordstrom officials link plans for the new store, in the mall at the New Seward Highway’s intersection with Benson Boulevard, with the enduring popularity of its Downtown Anchorage location on D Street.
"We are grateful for the nearly 40 years of business and support from our customers in Anchorage," Geevy Thomas, president of Nordstrom Rack, said in the statement. "We're thrilled that an opportunity became available to bring a Rack store to this community and offer our customers an additional way to shop with our company."
The modifications will include a renovation of the smaller Sears store with a new facade and interior, as part of the deal with Nordstrom negotiated by Sears division Seritage Realty Trust.
"We are very proud to welcome Nordstrom Rack as an important co-tenant in our redevelopment of the Sears property at The Mall at Sears along with a fully redesigned Sears store and other high-quality retailers," said David Lukes, Seritage Realty Trust’s CEO.
Nordstrom spokesperson Naomi Tobis says the new store will employ dozens of people in sales, stocking and management positions.
“We typically for a new Rack hire about 50 employees,” Tobis said.
According to Tobis, the new location isn’t expected to cause any cannibalization in sales, reduction in staff or footprint at its Anchorage flagship store.
“It is regular practice for us to open a Rack next to a full-line store,” Tobis said. “We find that when we open (Rack) stores by our full-line stores that they both benefit.”
Tobis didn’t have details on how long Nordstrom has planned to open a Nordstrom Rack in Anchorage, but says the chain hopes to have 230 Rack locations nationwide by 2016, up from 142 current stores.
Linda Boggs, Carr Gottstein's marketing director, says the Sears store likely won't see serious effects due to its reduced footprint.
"They're not going to drop any departments per se, and this store's been a very good one for them," Boggs said.
Boggs says that the Sears store has been listed for some time on Seritage's website, until Nordstrom and Sears reached an agreement on incorporating Nordstrom Racks into Sears locations.
"I understand this was part of a four-store deal," Boggs said. "As far as who approached who, it was probably part of a deal larger than this market."