Chambersburg Mall on endangered list

June 30, 2009|By JENNIFER FITCH

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. -- Chambersburg Mall recently ranked high among "America's Most Endangered Malls" in U.S. News & World Report.

The mall at exit 20 off Interstate 81 earned the classification by having a reported occupancy rate of 62 percent and sales of $234 per square foot. The article stated that malls with sales of $250 per square foot or lower are struggling.

Chambersburg Mall, which measures 454,000 square feet, opened 27 years ago and is owned by Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust, Regional Marketing Director Caroline D. Quinn said in an e-mail. She would not verify the reported figures, saying the company does not release information about occupancy rates.

Quinn identified J.C. Penney, Bon-Ton, Sears, Burlington Coat Factory and Carmike Theatre as the mall's anchor tenants. Fifty-nine stores are open, including American Eagle Outfitters, Aeropostale, GameStop and Victoria's Secret.


Value City, B. Moss and KB Toys closed in the last year and a half. New shopping opportunities have developed elsewhere in Chambersburg in recent years, including the strip mall at exit 17.

Rick Newman wrote in the U.S. News & World Report story that "sales have held steady over the past year, but a bucolic location 60 miles southwest of Harrisburg (Pa.) makes this sleepy mall a perennial underperformer."

Quinn said Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust is focused on the mall's future.

"This includes the possibility of adding nontraditional tenants, along with traditional retailers, which will enhance our current roster of stores," she said.

She touted the mall's events and commitment to community organizations.

"With the current economic climate, shoppers have become more cautious in their spending, as they have nationally. However, we are confident that as the economy improves, retail shopping patterns will improve as well," Quinn said in the e-mail.

U.S. News & World Report reported estimates that 10 percent of the country's malls could close in the next few years, saying the departure of department stores is usually the first sign of trouble.

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