CBL & Associates Properties, Inc. announced Tuesday that they have acquired two Sears anchor locations, including the store at Cool Springs Galleria and a store in Lexington, Kentucky.
"The acquisition of these Sears stores will allow us to create substantial value at two of our most productive malls," President and Chief Executive Officer Stephen Lebovitz said in a release.
He continued, "We have plans to redevelop and expand both buildings to create space for new high-end specialty stores and restaurants designed to augment each properties' market-dominant position and enhance their strong growth rates. Additional details on these exciting projects will be announced in the near future."
Sears will keep operating in both locations until closing dates have been finalized, which will be sometime before the end of the year.
The Chattanooga company is one of the largest and most active owners and developers of malls and shopping centers in the United States.
According to their Web site, CBL owns holds interests in or manages 158 properties, including 96 regional malls/open-air centers. The properties are located in 31 states.
Nashville's News 2 spoke with several loyal Sears' customers who had mixed emotions about the anchor store closing its Cools Springs location.
"Sears is kind of like a piece of America to me, so it's sad to see them keep replacing the things that worked," customer Gina Hill said.
However some customers, such as Randy Knowles, offered neutral opinions on the closing of the store.
"Sears merchandise has been slipping for a while. Maybe the restaurants will be better," he said.
Late Tuesday, Sears released a statement regarding the store's closing, which read, in part, "As a part of the ordinary course of business we close stores for a variety of reasons. This store was sold to CBL & Associates Properties. The store closures are part of a series of actions we're taking to reduce on-going expenses, adjust our asset base and accelerate the transformation of our business model. These actions will better enable us to focus our investments on serving our customers and members through integrated retail – at the store, online and in the home."
A spokesperson for the store said all 92 associates at the Cool Springs location will have an opportunity to apply for positions at other Sears and Kmart stores.