Sears closing at the mall

The Sears store at the West Valley Mall, seen Tuesday morning, will be closed within three months after 22 years in business.

Sears at the West Valley Mall will close early next year, shutting its doors for good after 22 years as one of the mall’s anchor stores.

A Nov. 7 news release from Transformco, the company that bought most of the assets of Sears Holding Corp. this February, announced that the Sears store at 3350 Naglee Road was one of 96 Sears and Kmart stores slated for closure by early February 2020.

Going-out-of-business sales will begin Dec. 2. Stores that are closing will not participate in after-Thanksgiving Black Friday sales.

Of the 96 stores to be closed, 28 are in California. After the closures, Transformco said it will operate 182 stores across the country.

The Tracy store survived several earlier rounds of Sears store closures since the sale to Transformco.

That company said it was “focusing on competitive strengths and pruning operations that have struggled” and that its owners and another investor had recently invested an additional $250 million.

The plan to build an 83,000-square-foot Sears anchor store on the east side of the West Valley Mall was announced in 1996 after months of speculation. Its grand opening on Oct. 25, 1997, marked a return to Tracy after a catalog store closed downtown in 1989.

The department store sells tools, appliances, clothes and kitchenware and has an optical center and an auto center.

Sears will join a list of major tenants that have closed or left the West Valley Mall in recent years, including Ross Dress for Less, Hometown Buffet and Barnes & Noble Booksellers. Gottschalks, one of the original anchors, closed in 2009 after declaring bankruptcy and was replaced by Macy's in October 2010.

Calls to the West Valley Mall management office were not returned.

The local Sears store can be reached at 830-2300.

Contact the Tracy Press at tpnews@tracypress.com or 835-3030.

(1) comment

Tracy for Bernie

The City of Tracy might see the closing of the West Valley Mall Sears store as an opportunity. What if, instead of spending $80 to $100M dollars constructing a new water park from scratch, the City of Tracy were to lease the Sears site and construct a City water sports & recreation destination that would offer several indoor, heated pools?

There would be space for a competition-sized pool, lap pools, a kiddie pool, a pool with diving boards and short into-the-pool slides for older kids and teens, as well as an administrative office.

Unlike an outdoor water park, heated indoor pools will be patronized year-round. A municipal pool center right at the Mall would draw people from Tracy and surrounding communities to the Mall where there are both fast food and nicer dining venues plus large shopping destinations where visitors can linger. The West Valley Mall already has access to freeways, would require no street improvements, and ample parking in place. Those improvements and having an existing building on the site would make the center much less costly.

Bottom line, creating a municipal pool center at the Mall could cost FAR less than the projects current under discussion. The City would have less liability exposure if the City were to stick with pools and to forgo the idea of improvements like publicly-owned water slides. The Journal of Emergency Medicine reports that waterslides are a source of a surprisingly high incidence of coccyx (tail bone) and vaginal trauma injuries.

Were the City to negotiate a thirty-year lease of the property with renewal rights, the City's investment would be well spent. Why not revitalize the West Valley Mall and, at the same time, find a way to quickly and more affordably address the Tracy community's desire for a pool center? To borrow the cliche about when life gives you lemons ... When life gives you a large, vacant retails space ... make it into a large, attractive, indoor City pool center.

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