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urbanophile

Kaufmann's Gone?

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With the likely sale of the May Co. (owners of Kaufmann's) to Federated (owners of Lazarus-Macy's - soon to be Macy's), it looks like Pittsburgh will loose yet another department store. Experts predict the downtown Kaufmann's store will be Macy's and most of the suburban mall stores (which are duplicated with Macy's) will be shut down for good. Needless to say, this will absolutely kill many of the malls since they'll be down one major anchor. Also, Century III will seriously be hurting. With Federated having already shut down its Lazarus outlet there, they're unlikely to keep the Kaufmann's that is there now after the merger. This will leave Century III with just two department store anchors (Sears and JC Penny's) down from 5 when it first opened in 1979.

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I think that this bad news for many many cities that have both May and Federated stores as that means less competition, less jobs etc. As for the flagship store downtown, they would be insane to close it and the press in both papers essentially affirms the downtown store's strength in the region.

As for the name... it might be sad for many Pittsburghers and for other region's similiarly old stores, but remember for recent years if not a decade or more, they have been only names... just a variation of May.

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http://www.pittsburghfirst.com/pg/05021/445944.stm

The story from the Post-Gazette.  It is sad to see something so closely tied to Western Pennsylvania go away.  I really do hope they reconsider the name change.

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Seeing as the same company (Federated) thought nothing of changing Horne's to Lazarus back in 1994, they probably will kill the Kaufmann's name. Unlike what one of the experts in that article said, I seriously doubt that Fedearted will run two competing brand names in one market. Macy's or Kaufmann's? I think they'll go for Macy's since for them is a tried and true name. The Trib's article said that the efficiency Federated may get by marketing under the Macy's name will be overshadowed by the effect of them killing the Kaufmann's name. In a way, I doubt it since they'll be the only game in town. Secondly, Pittsburgh isn't really a major market for them. They're going to be focusing most of their energy on larger markets like Philadelphia and Boston where they will (after the merger) have a major presence due to both being strong Federated and May markets. Pittsburgh never really took to Federated and they probably don't see it as one of their types of places.

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^^I know Boston is set to lose Filene's (sp) if this deal goes through, interesting to see how the regulators handle this with anti-trust, anti-monopoly.

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Now that its a fait accompli, I wonder why there isn't a whole lot of fuss about whether or not they will close the Downtown Pgh Kaufmann's, seeing as Federated is aparently not too big on downtown department stores (reluctantly opening that Lazarus with city subsidies and then closing it down at the first opportunity). I also wonder what will happen at Monroeville, South Hills Village, and Ross Park Malls. Lastly, what will happen at Century III Mall. I know it no longer has a Lazarus but Federated closed the Lazarus there because it felt Century III was an underperforming location. Now that they will inherit the Kaufmann's there, they might make the same decision. If that were to be the case, Century III is probably finished. I beleive when it opened in 1979 it was the largest mall in the country (or so they said in Pgh) but since then it has lost Lazarus (which replaced a former Montgomery Ward) and Gimbels. If it looses Kaufmann's too it'll be left with jsut Sears and JC Penney as anchors. I can easily see the mall flopping in the future.

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I think the suburban Kaufmann's locations in malls with Macy's are in more danger than the Downtown store. For one thing, Kaufmann's has put a lot of time and money into keeping the Downtown location afloat and they have no competition there but Saks. Unless the fortunes of the Downtown store suddenly downturn, it's foolhardy to close it.

Century III is an entirely different animal. There is a chance if it's a stronger store for Kaufmann's than it was for Lazurus out there, which it seems like it is, it could last for a while longer as a Macy's. But the mall itself has seen better days, and the way department stores operate (seemingly on a whim) these days, they could either lose the seperate furniture galleries or the whole store in a short while. Either way, Federated could be driving another nail into Century III's coffin.

Monroeville, Ross Park and South Hills will lose one of those anchor locations each, most likely Kaufmann's. Those malls, probably Ross Park, could be strong enough for a Bloomingdale's. But a more likely scenario, IMO, is either a Nordstrom, Dillard's, or division of the space for smaller stores. I can't see a Macy's double-haeder in Pittsburgh.

Either way, it's a sad day for Western Pennsylvania retail. Macy's promises big changes, but even in its 'reinvented' stores, it's the same old garbage.

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Monroeville, Ross Park and South Hills will lose one of those anchor locations each, most likely Kaufmann's.  Those malls, probably Ross Park, could be strong enough for a Bloomingdale's.  But a more likely scenario, IMO, is either a Nordstrom, Dillard's, or division of the space for smaller stores.  I can't see a Macy's double-haeder in Pittsburgh.

I actually forsee some discount department store like Boscov's of eastern PA moving into the old Kaufmann's spaces in Monroeville and Century III. Pittsburgh seems like a good fit for Boscov. Ross Park and SHV are kind of up in the air. Nordstroms is unlikely to enter Pgh anf Federated is too cautious about Pittsburgh (witness their closing of several Horne's stores and their closure of the downtown Lazarus) to try Bloomingdale's. Dillards won't enter a new market either. Perhaps, just perhaps, JC Penney will open in SHV since there isn't a JCP in that area anymore but I don't see JCP being successful so they likely will pass. Ross Park will probably loose an anchor. One candidate for SHV could be Lord & Taylor since they're more conservative than Bloomingdales and thus a better fit for Pgh and SHV had been trying to lure L&T. that said, the failure of the downtown L&T might have left a sour taste.

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I actually forsee some discount department store like Boscov's of eastern PA moving into the old Kaufmann's spaces in Monroeville and Century III.  Pittsburgh seems like a good fit for Boscov.  Ross Park and SHV are kind of up in the air.  Nordstroms is unlikely to enter Pgh anf Federated is too cautious about Pittsburgh (witness their closing of several Horne's stores and their closure of the downtown Lazarus) to try Bloomingdale's.  Dillards won't enter a new market either.  Perhaps, just perhaps, JC Penney will open in SHV since there isn't a JCP in that area anymore but I don't see JCP being successful so they likely will pass.  Ross Park will probably loose an anchor.  One candidate for SHV could be Lord & Taylor since they're more conservative than Bloomingdales and thus a better fit for Pgh and SHV had been trying to lure L&T.  that said, the failure of the downtown L&T might have left a sour taste.

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You're probably right about Dillard's, and Boscov's could work at Monroeville or Century III. But I think Nordstrom is a good candidate for SHV or Ross Park. They've been scouting locations in Pittsburgh for years, and an opening like those could work in their favor.

Lord & Taylor is probably toast in the new Federated. It's a decent franchise, but so was Stern's and now it's history. So I figure they're not coming back to Pittsburgh period.

Penney's has some work to do before it comes near SHV. They took over several Woodward & Lothrop locations in Washington, DC, a decade ago, in malls with similar demographics to SHV, and fell flat on their behind. Today's Penney's is thankfully stonger than the company was in the '90s, but it's still not upscale enough to make a SHV store work. If Sears leaves, maybe, but then you've got another problem in that you'll have another empty box.

I just hope that there's not another Target put into those Kaufmann's spaces. I understand and agree that Target is a very nice store and does well in most locations. But I am personally sick of every mall trying to replace department stores with Target, Dick's, Barnes & Noble and Best Buy.

Sure, those stores are popular and very nice, but there's only so many of them that any town needs. After a while it gets to be like Sears, Penney's and Wards bcame: so ubiquitous that they're not special anymore.

Oh well; at least they're classier than Value City :P

What's funny is the mall most concerned about a vacancy is Beaver Valley, where there's no overlap. Check it out here.

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My money is still on L&T for SHV and Bloomies for Ross Park, however. Why? Because Federated will inherit the leases in those two malls and the amlls will probably give them a good deal to stay. Plus, Federated will not want to open teh door for a competing chain like Nordstrom to compete in the same market, much less the same malls. South Hills shoppers tend to be conservative and older so L&T is probably a better fit than Bloomies for SHV. Plus, it will require minimal renovation since L&T stores and Kaufmann stores are very similar. When and if Federated drops L&T, it may be converted to Bloomingdales though I don't see two Bloomingdales in a market the size of Pgh.

With Century III and Monroeville, Federated is probably less concerned about loosing market share to a competitor since those aren't as premium of department store markets as SHV and Ross Park. Century III is basically a ghost mall and I predict will eventually be torn down and replaced with more big box retailers. Federated will probably shutter the Kaufmann's furniture store and briefly change Kaufmann's to Macy's (with minimal investment in renovation - much like what they did when they took over Horne's since they figure it'll close). They'd then shutter the store sicne it is too close to the Macy's in SHV and the future one (ne Kaufmann's) in Homestead.

Meanwhile, someone at Boscov's is probably gearing up for meetings into expanding the chain into the Pittsburgh area.

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Meanwhile, someone at Boscov's is probably gearing up for meetings into expanding the chain into the Pittsburgh area.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

You're right about Boscov's. They're probably going to be the only chain that comes out of this merger ahead.

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The duplicate mall stores will be the first to go. I suppose that if anything, South Hills Village would be the best candidate for Bloomingdales.

Centure III is dying though and not sure if this will impact any decision or not.

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