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Robinsons-May to be shut down by fall next year

Darleene Barrientos

Robinsons-May, arguably the Glendale Galleria’s most prominent anchor

department store, will shut down by fall of 2006, as part of an

$11-billion merger with Federated Department Stores Inc., the parent

company of Macy’s.

The Galleria is one of about 68 locations nationwide that house

both department stores, which will result in Robinsons-May’s

closures. Robinsons-May employees will be absorbed by the adjacent

Macy’s, according to a statement released Thursday by Federated.

Hundreds of May Department stores will convert their nameplates to

Macy’s in the merger, adding about 330 locations to the high-end

retailer’s roster

Glendale’s Robinsons-May occupies 179,000 square feet at the

mall’s southwest corner and is the first department store that comes

into view for drivers coming from the Golden State (5) Freeway and

along Central Avenue from Los Angeles. The store opened in 1993 and

employs 283 people, officials said. When Robinsons-May is closed,

Federated expects to transfer most of the stores employees to Macy’s

and no layoffs are anticipated, Federated spokeswoman Carol Sanger

said.

“There will be some overstaffing, but given the turnover and

attrition rate in retail, we believe by end of next year we will be

at the appropriate staffing levels,” Sanger said.

The decision was made to shut down Glendale’s Robinsons-May

because of many factors, including location, traffic patterns and

current and future prospects of the location, she said. Glendale’s

Macy’s space is 191,000 square feet and is located on the mall’s west

perimeter.

The location was owned by the May company, Sanger said, so

Federated will sell the location to another retailer or developer so

it continues as an ongoing business.

The decision to shut down Robinsons-May was a shock for shoppers

like Rie Rother of Tujunga, who shops at the Glendale store often for

baby clothes, linens and her husband’s polo shirts.

“Oh my goodness,” Rother said. “I wish the Macy’s would close --

it’s not organized. I like Robinsons-May better because it’s so neat

and everything is in its place. This is our favorite Robinsons-May.”

Silvia Shapagatyan of Glendale, who was rushing into the store

Thursday with her two daughters, will miss Robinsons-May because the

department store is more affordable, she said. But her 15-year-old

daughter, Taguhi unequivocally deemed Macy’s the better store.

“They have all the brands, all the new styles and models,” Taguhi

said.

Federated estimates that the merger of the stores nationwide will

eventually save the corporation about $175 million in 2006 and $450

million 2007, from reducing real estate, marketing and overhead

costs.

Besides Robinsons-May in Southern California, the company will

also rename stores like Filene’s along the East Coast, Foley’s in the

south and southwest and Hecht’s in the north and northeast. The

company anticipates that consumers will be disturbed by the loss of

longtime retailers like Robinsons-May, but will eventually see the

value in the merger.

“This is something we’ve dealt with before,” Sanger said. “There’s

a sense of nostalgic attachment. Federated is comprised of companies

with strong regional nameplates, but we’ve found that the positives

outweigh negatives in customer’s minds. It becomes less important

what is on name plate than what is in the store.”

QUESTION

What do you think of Federated Department Store’s plan to absorb

and shut down Robinsons-May? E-mail gnp@latimes.com or write to

News-Press and Leader Community Forum, 111 W. Wilson Ave. Suite 200,

Glendale, CA 91203. Please include your name and tell us your

hometown and phone number for verification purposes only.

* DARLEENE BARRIENTOS covers education. She may be reached at

(818) 637-3215 or by e-mail at darleene.barrientoslatimes.com.


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