Friday, March 10, 2006

J.C. Penney to Close Highland Mall Store

J.C. Penney announced today that it is closing its Highland Mall store. The closing is part of a larger move toward stand-alone locations for the venerable department store. The Highland store closes September 30 and two new stores open at IH-35 and Parmer and IH-35 and Slaughter on October 6.

I've only recently started going to Penney's - as it was known when I was a wee lad - again. You can get pretty good deals there on no-nonsense items like linens and towels when they're on sale. Otherwise, I'm more likely to go down-market to Target or up-market to Foley's/Macy's. J.C. Penney is making strides toward climbing out of that retail twilight zone, but they've still got a long way to go.

The bigger question for Austin is what this closure will mean for Highland Mall. As the city's oldest fully-enclosed mall, Highland is an anachronism of the Seventies. It's a perfectly servicable facility for less-demanding shoppers, but if you're going to have to spend time in a mall, you might as well go to Barton Creek Square or Lakeline Mall where they have more stores. Highland isn't particularly well-suited toward being "turned out" like Westgate Mall was, either.

At some point in the not-too-distant future, Highland may well join Northcross in the unfortunate ranks of "dead malls" if they can't figure out how to stop hemmoraging shoppers to bigger malls and outlet centers.

1 comment:

stacey said...

I was in Houston yesterday and went by Town and Country Mall. Ten years ago it had a couple of closures, no big deal, yesterday it was dozed the the ground with only an abandoned Neiman Marcus section standing. I guess people like their stip malls. Houston needed some of those.