Wednesday, November 14, 2001

Cleveland Dillard's succumbs

The Associated Press

        CLEVELAND — Dillard's Inc. will close the last of downtown Cleveland's department stores in January.

        The store was opened in 1860 by the Higbee Co. and has been a Dillard's since 1992.

        But Dillard's officials said there are not enough downtown shoppers.

        “Cleveland has done a great job revitalizing the downtown area, but unfortunately, it hasn't converted into a thriving retail environment,” said Mark Gastman, a vice president at the 337-store retailer based in Little Rock, Ark. “When people go to a football or baseball game or go out to dinner, they're not shopping after they do it.”

        The 12-floor building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is at the heart of downtown's Public Square and linked to Tower City Center, home to a shopping district of more than 120 retail stores and restaurants.

        Forest City Enterprises Inc., which owns the building, said it is talking to other department stores and specialty retailers about moving into the site.

        Five other major department stores have closed in downtown Cleveland over the past 30 years.

        William Taylor Son and Co., Sterling-Linder Co. and Bailey Co. were downtown retail staples during the late-1800s and early 1900s, but all three were closed by 1968. Halle's department store closed in 1982 at the age of 100. And the May Co., which opened in 1899, left in 1993.

        Most of Dillard's approximately 150 employees will be offered positions at Dillard's 13 other northeast Ohio stores.


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