ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) - It’s been a fixture in downtown St. Louis for decades, but on Monday, Macy’s announced that its Olive Street location will shut its doors for good.
The decision comes less than two years after downsizing and remodeling the department store.
Heather Dupuis works nearby, and says she isn’t surprised the store is closing. She likes Macy’s, but would rather shop at its other locations. She isn’t the only one.
Dupuis explains, “A lot more people have been just going to the mall so they have the variety of not just a Macy’s store.”
Kevin Farrell with the Partnership for Downtown St. Louis recognizes that a lack of shopping near this Olive Street store is an issue. But, he explains, these clothing stores can be tough to attract: “Retail shopping is always a bigger challenge. They’re competing now with online business; the cost of starting new businesses is quite high.”
This isn’t just a St. Louis problem. Macy’s is closing three downtown stores in other states. A company spokesperson says it’s a sign of the changing consumer culture.
Macy’s spokesperson Jim Sluzewski explains, “Downtown department stores were built at a time when cities, and the nature of business and the nature of shopping, was much different. Today, most people shop closer to where they live, which tends to be in the suburbs.”
The closing may be logical, but it’s still bittersweet for St. Louis. Throughout the past century, the historic building housed the Famous-Barr department store, and then Macy’s.
The Railway Exchange Building’s latest incarnation? To be determined.
Farrell predicts, “I think you’ll see a mix of residential, office, and other uses, as well as hopefully retail on the first floor.”
Dupuis has another dream for the space: “It would be great to see Target downtown. A Target downtown would be awesome.”
The downtown Macy’s is slated to close this summer. In the meantime, the company will work to relocate the store’s 94 employees.
Sluzewski says, “Keep in mind that we as Macy’s employ just about 3,000 people in the St. Louis metro area. So there may be opportunities, but we’ll work with them and hopefully place as many of them as we can in other locations.”