On Oct. 31, the Best Buy at the Berkshire Mall in Lanesborough, Mass., will close, adding to an increasing number of empty storefronts in the mall.
When the lease for the Berkshire Mall location ended, Best Buy chose not to renew it. The lease for the store at the Hampshire Mall in Hadley, Mass. also ended and that store will also close on Oct. 31. Best Buy closed 50 stores in 2012, including two others in Massachusetts, but the Hadley and Lanesborough stores remained open. Now, the nearest Best Buy locations to the College are in Holyoke, Mass. and Albany, N.Y.
“We are looking at this as an opportunity to add some new retail to the mall,” Strategic Asset Services, a subsidiary of the company that owns the Berkshire Mall, stated in an email to the Berkshire Eagle. “We are in discussions with several retailers at the moment who have expressed strong interest in the Best Buy space. Many retailers perform well at the mall and we are looking to build on that success.”
Jonathan Butler, president and CEO of Berkshire Chamber of Commerce, believes there are two main reasons for the store closing. One is that online sales are now “exponentially” more important than ever before, so physical locations of stores are less important for Best Buy. Secondly, the downtown areas in the Berkshires, such as in Pittsfield, Mass., now have more activity, which has created more competition for stores at the mall. Since the downtown areas are expanding, Butler believes that overall, the region is doing well, so he is “not terribly alarmed” at the closing of Best Buy.
There are 63 employeees at the store, including 28 full-time employees, according to the Berkshire Eagle. Each of these employees will have to find a new job.
“Any time an employer closes, my first concern is job loss,” Butler said. The Chamber helps laid off employees, with its biggest priority finding them new jobs.
There are still four major anchor stores at the Berkshire Mall including J.C. Penney, Macy’s, Sears and Target. However, there is a chance that the Macy’s store might close in light of a recent press release stating that between 35 and 40 of Macy’s 770 stores will close by early 2016. According to the press release, the stores that will close are “underperforming.” The press release stated that Macy’s will announce which locations will close at a later date.
In January, Radio Shack also closed its Berkshire Mall location.