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Final day Sunday for Sears at Fairfield Commons mall, new stores announced for space

Sears at the Mall at Fairfield Commons will close Sunday, ending an era of Sears in the immediate Dayton market.

The company announced the closure in September, followed by continuous liquidation sales. This week, signs outside the retailer have advertised “Last 6 days.” 

“We are making the difficult, but necessary decision to close the Sears store in Beavercreek … We have been strategically and aggressively evaluating our store space and productivity, and have accelerated the closing of unprofitable stores as previously announced,” said Sears spokesman, Howard Riefs.

The store will be open normal hours this weekend, but shoppers who want deals on appliances should go earlier.

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Two news tenants — a furniture store and an entertainment venue — will replace the Beavercreek Sears, said Kristie Miller, general manager of the mall and regional manager for the shopping center’s owner Washington Prime Group.

The bottom floor of the Sears store will be a new-to-the-market Round1 Entertainment, an experience-based dining and entertainment concept with karaoke, ping-pong, bowling and arcade games similar to Dave & Busters.

The only other Ohio Round1 store is in Mentor, Ohio.

Round1 Entertainment will open at the Mall at Fairfield Commons in late 2019. (Staff Writer)

Above Round1, the upper floor of the Sears store will be filled with furniture store The Room Place.

The store that offers a “total-room concept to furniture shopping” started in Chicago in 1912, and has expanded into Indianapolis and now Dayton, with stores planned at Fairfield Commons and the Dayton Mall.

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“When an outstanding furniture retailer with a venerable 100-year history takes vacated department store space, let’s just say if I were an emoji kind of person, there’d be a smiley face or two illustrating our happiness,” said Washington Prime CEO Lou Conforti when announcing the store in July.

Together, the stores will occupy more than 100,000 square feet.

Large vacant spaces pose challenges for shopping centers as few department stores are looking to expand and consumer shopping habits change.

But Washington Prime has been able to redevelop vacancies relatively quickly at the Beavercreek mall. In addition to having tenants lined up for a Sears store before the company made an official announcement, the mall found success when an Elder-Beerman furniture store closed in 2015. At that time, mall owners knocked down the store and replaced it with outward facing restaurants, including BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse, Chuy’s Tex-Mex and Bravo!

The mall has yet to announce a new store for the vacant Elder-Beerman location that closed in August.

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Sears has been struggling in recent months as it aims to keep up with e-commerce retailers like Amazon and changing consumer habits. The department store that was America’s number one retailer based on sales for decades has announced back-to-back rounds of closures to stay afloat and avoid filing for bankruptcy.

Aside from the Dayton Mall’s Auto Center closing last year and the Trotwood Sears store on Salem Avenue closing in 2013, the Dayton area has largely escaped the chopping block each time a new round of closures was announced — until recently.

The Sears at the Dayton Mall closed in November.

There is still a Sears store in Springfield. After the two recently announced Ohio closures, the state will have 46 Sears and Sears Auto Center stores left, according the company’s website. However the state has been purged of Kmart stores, with only 12 left and none in the Dayton region after the last one closed in 2017.

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