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Macy's store at Tucson Mall not being closed — for now

Macy’s Inc. announced Wednesday it is closing 68 stores and laying off about 3,900 workers, but none are in Arizona, meaning the store at Tucson Mall has been spared – at least for now.

The company also said it intends to close about 30 additional stores over the next few years as their leases or operating covenants expire.

Not all Southern Arizona employees of the department store chain may be secure in their jobs, though. Macy's plans to cut 6,200 employees throughout the company over the next year.

The closings are not a surprise as the Cincinnati-based retailer announced on Aug. 11 that it planned to close 100 of its 730 stores to increase profits and stock values and improve remaining stores. TucsonSentinel.com reported in September that the Tucson Mall location was at risk.

The company in November said it was closing stores “due to underperformance or because the value of the real estate exceeds the value to Macy’s as a retail store location.”

After the initial announcement, Morningstar Credit, a Chicago investment research company, calculated that the Macy’s at Tucson Mall and 27 other stores were especially vulnerable to being closed because their sales fell below Macy’s 2014 average of $169 a square foot.

Sales at the Tucson Mall store were just $158 a square foot.

Loss of the store would have dealt a big blow to the 1.28-million square foot mall – Tucson’s largest – as Macy’s is one of its four main anchors.

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In announcing the 68 store closures, Macy’s said it is reorganizing the personnel who support the remaining stores and  “reinforcing the strategy of fewer stores with better customer experience.”

 The company expects the store closures will save it about $550 million per year, beginning this year. But it plans to invest about $250 million more in digital and other operations.

Three of the 68 stores closed in mid-2016, another 63 will close in early spring of this year and two will close in mid-2017. These are all in addition to 90 other Macy's stores closed since 2010.

The company also said Wednesday that fewer shoppers are visiting its stores. Comparable sales fell by 2.1 percent in November and December, compared with the same period in 2015.

“We had anticipated sales would be stronger,” a Macy’s announcement said. “We believe that our performance during the holiday season reflects the broader challenges facing much of the retail industry.”

Employees who are laid off will be offered positions at nearby stores where possible or will be offered severance benefits, company representatives said.

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