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updated: 1/4/2011 6:13 PM

Sears closing Charlestowne Mall store

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Sears will close its Charlestowne Mall store sometime on or before April 3, company officials said Tuesday.

A woman in the management office at Charlestowne could not confirm the exact closing date Tuesday night, and referred all calls to Sears Holdings Corp. Kim Freely, Director of Communications for Sears, could not be reached for comment.

The store is planning a liquidation sale starting Friday and continuing through March 20, according to Chris Aiston, Economic Development Director for St. Charles.

Aiston said city officials knew something was up when Sears called Tuesday inquiring whether it needed any special permit for a liquidation sale.

The closing is "a big-time surprise," Aiston said.

According to a news release from the City of St. Charles, Sears corporate real estate representatives and Charlestowne Mall LLC, a California investment group which owns the mall, failed to negotiate a lease for the 2-story, nearly 100,000-square-foot retail space at the west end of the mall at Kirk Road and North Avenue. As a result, "Sears notified ownership it had chosen not to exercise its option for lease renewal and that it has plans to vacate the building on or about April 3, 2011."

"It is regretful that Sears and the ownership group were not only unable to strike agreeable terms in a new leasing arrangement, but that no one from either party approached the city to seek our assistance in this matter," Mayor Don DeWitte said.

"There are tools at our disposal where we may have found a way to bridge the gap between landlord and tenant, at least until economic recovery and consumer confidence are strengthened."

Sears opened at Charlestowne in 1991.

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