Sears in Bonnie Doon Shopping Centre will close by end of January

Click to play video: 'Bonnie Doon Sears closure speaks to changing retail landscape'
Bonnie Doon Sears closure speaks to changing retail landscape
WATCH ABOVE: An Edmonton Sears store is closing. The Bonnie Doon location is shutting down by the end of January. As Vinesh Pratap reports, the development speaks to changes taking place in the retail environment – Oct 4, 2016

Last year, Target closed up shop. Now, Bonnie Doon Shopping Centre is saying goodbye to another major tenant: Sears.

The department store will be gone from the Bonnie Doon location by the end of January.

A company spokesperson said, in the last few years, the site turned into an outlet store that was sent clearance and discount items.

The location let its 70 employees know about the closure in July. Sears said most of those employees were part time. The spokesperson said staff will be considered to fill positions at other Sears locations in Edmonton if they come up.

As for its other locations in the city – Kingsway, West Ed, Southgate – Sears says it’s full speed ahead.

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One local retail expert said this latest news presents a redevelopment opportunity for the Bonnie Doon mall.

“You’ve got a shopping centre which – it looks a little bit dated, it’s not a terribly exciting centre,” Craig Patterson said. Patterson is the director of applied research at the University of Alberta and is also the editor-in-chief of Retail Insider Magazine.

“It’s got tremendous transit potential with the LRT coming in – although it is a ground-oriented LRT, that might be a bit of a challenge – but nevertheless, it’s such an incredible location with the acres that are there, there’s a potential to redevelop it into something absolutely incredible.”

Patterson also said the Bonnie Doon neighbourhood is ripe for an updated retail space. He said it’s close to downtown, becoming increasingly affluent and will be more accessible as the LRT expansion moves in.

“I do have some concerns over the way the LRT is going to be designed, being ground-oriented,” he said. “I think there’s some major challenges around north Edmonton around the new line there.

“I do hope it works out because definitely, developers do look at transit when they look at intensifying sites.”

Patterson pointed to Vancouver as an example of transit infrastructure boosting commercial and retail development.

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READ MORE: City plans for construction of new Valley LRT Line to Mill Woods 

Mill Woods Town Centre is another mall that could be re-invented in the near future.

“Calling for at least four 16-storey towers with 1,700 units going on site,” Coun. Mike Nickel explained. “It is a major redevelopment of the mall. The mall is intended to stay.”

“There’s no question that everyone in Mill Woods knows that mall needs a face lift,” Nickel said.

He believes the mall is an important part of the community. He feels a lot of people need this project to be approved and completed.

“The community does, city hall does, the LRT line does,” Nickel said. “I mean, we can go down the list. Everybody’s got skin in the game.”

READ MORE: LRT expansion causes traffic concerns in south Edmonton 

Patterson believes, as top tier malls continue to improve and upgrade, second tier shopping centres must keep innovating.

“I don’t see an end to brick and mortar retail anytime soon,” he said. “I still do think that people like shopping centres … providing that the shopping centre is compelling.”

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