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Moscow, Spokane will lose their Macy’s stores

The Macy’s stores in Moscow and downtown Spokane are among the 36 stores Macy’s Inc. will be shutting down in coming months as the company retrenches in an ever-changing retail environment.

The Macy’s store in the Moscow’s Palouse Mall is the last traditional department store serving the Moscow-Pullman corridor, said Gina Taruscio, executive director of the Moscow Chamber of Commerce.

“The closure has a definite financial impact: 47 jobs are going away,” Taruscio said Jan. 7. “It’s a real emotional impact as well. Where do I get makeup, nylons for me and a shirt and tie for my husband in one place?”

The Moscow Macy’s (which operated before 2003 as Bon Marche) has been part of the Palouse Mall since 1979, the three-year span during which the mall was fully built out from 1976-79. Other traditional department stores at Palouse were JC Penney and Gottschalks, which closed in 1998 and 2007, respectively.

Department stores have been declining nationally since the early 2000s. Mall department stores have frequently given way to large specialty stores – such as the Bed Bath & Beyond and Old Navy that replaced Moscow’s Gottschalks, or off-price department stores such as Ross Dress for Less, another Palouse Mall anchor.

The Moscow store is among the smallest stores at 41,000 square feet in this round of Macy’s closings.

“Right now, it’s a bad thing,” Taruscio said. “Yes, we will bounce back. It’s a challenge and an opportunity. I’m sure the wheels are already turning.”

Jim Bendickson, owner of Jameson Commercial Property Management, manages the Palouse Mall. He did not return calls from the Idaho Business Review.

Moscow shoppers will have to resort to the half-hour drive to Lewiston to shop at Macy’s.

Macy’s CEO Terry J. Lundgren said in a release that Macy’s “in today’s rapidly evolving retail environment… (is) being disciplined about closing stores that are unproductive or no longer robust shopping destinations because of changes in the local retail shopping landscape.”

Spokane will lose its downtown Macy’s store. It has been at Riverpark Square since 1947. But Spokane has two other Macy’s stores.

About Teya Vitu

Teya Vitu is an Idaho Business Review reporter, covering commercial real estate, construction, transportation and whatever else may intrigue him in the moment. Join me on Twitter at @IBR_TeyaVitu.