MANCHESTER, Conn. (WTNH) — The Shoppes at Buckland Hills in Manchester is losing one of its anchor stores, Dick’s Sporting Goods. The store is moving to another location in town, the Shoppes at Burr Corners.
“We’re losing them here, but we’re keeping them in town,” said Mayor Jay Moran.
Manchester’s mayor added he’s happy they’re not going far. He’s hoping as COVID-19 vaccinations increase and COVID infection numbers drop, more people will resume shopping in person and support businesses hit hard by the pandemic.
“You go over the line to South Windsor to Evergreen Walk and they probably have eight to 10 empty stores right now,” said Mayor Moran.
It’s a growing trend many are noticing at malls and shopping centers across the state.
“The Best Buy in Enfield, we went to go there a little while ago and the sign was gone,” recounted Zachary Morrissette of East Windsor. “I was like, ‘what’s going on? Since when is this happening?'”
During the pandemic, consumers tell us they’ve turned to online shopping — forcing retailers to adapt and to make difficult decisions.
“It seems like a lot of places are starting to close down,” said Victoria Hicks of East Windsor. “It’s sad”
We asked Adam Winstanley, a Principal at Winstanley Enterprises – which co-owns the property Dick’s Sporting Goods is relocating to – why this change is being made.
He sent this statement to News 8:
The pandemic has amplified the decline of the regional mall where both inline tenants and anchor tenants have realized they can generate higher sales per sq. foot by moving to open-air shopping centers with less overall cost than a mall format.
Adding more pressure to regional malls is the systematic failure of major anchor tenants (like Sears, etc) who have not competed well against the growth of online retail and more nimble competitors like Walmart, Target, and Marshalls.
Once the anchor tenant shuts down at the mall, other tenants can trigger lease clauses (co-tenancy) that allow them to pay 50% rent, further accelerating the decline of the mall.”
Winstanley said the plan is to open Dick’s Sporting Goods in its new spot in October. As for what will replace it at the Shoppes at Buckland Hills, that’s yet to be determined.