BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT:

New York-based DMJ Realty has been hired to sell Linens 'n Things, one of the city's largest retail stores, which officials said has fallen victim to a crumbling economy that is set to close by the end of July.

The struggling home furnishings store, at 124 S. Brand Blvd., is scheduled to shut its doors on July 31, nearly three months after the New Jersey-based company filed for bankruptcy.

“Because of the credit crisis and housing crunch, a lot of retailers are feeling the pinch now,” said Susan Kenney, a spokeswoman with MWW Group, a public relations firm representing Linens 'n Things. “It has really hit the home furnishings market.”

After the company filed for bankruptcy on May 2, officials announced that its weakest-performing stores — 20% of its 589 locations — would close, including the Glendale location that is now liquidating its supply of home furnishings, officials said.

All store employees have been laid off, including John Koch, a Glendale resident who has worked at the store for about two months and has no future employment plans past the July 31 closing date.

“I've seen the area change so much in the past 10 years, but it's not necessarily bad,” he said. “Now, it's more dressed up.”

Kenney would not disclose how the Glendale location was performing, but the company reported a 5.7% drop in national store sales during the first quarter of 2008 compared with the same period in 2007.

MWW hired DJM Realty to unload the 35,356-square-foot Glendale store, and 125 other Linens 'n Things around the country already in the process of closing, DJM spokeswoman Brooke Bellask said.

Rent on the location is $91,160 per month, according to the terms of the lease that will expire in 2014, she said.

DJM does not expect the store to close before July 31 but is trying to sell another space down the street, a more than 7,800-square-foot lot at 100 S. Brand Blvd., next to and owned by Borders Books, said Bellask, whose firm has worked with more than 220 companies to dispose of their excess or underperforming locations.

The soon-to-be-empty storefronts follow other closures on Brand Boulevard, including the Salvation Army Family Store at 201 N. Brand Blvd. that has already shut its doors.

But the fluctuation has not alarmed business officials, who said the ongoing news of store closures is a byproduct of an economy many consider to be in a recession.

“I don't like to see it happen, but it's something that's kind of expected because of the economy,” said Judee Kendall, executive director of the Glendale Chamber of Commerce. “I think we will see a new business come in [to the Linens 'n Things location] that will be beneficial to the area.”

The new tenant for the Linens 'n Things lot, located on the second floor of the Glendale Marketplace, has not been named, but will likely be another retail company, such as an entertainment or home furnishings outlet, Bellask said.

“A lot of times when you have these stores close, there are retailers looking to enter the market,” she said. “There is a lot of flexibility in a space that big.”


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