AURELIUS | A jewelry store at the Fingerlakes Mall in Aurelius closed on Tuesday — and a clothing retailer will follow suit later this month.
Littman Jewelers, which was located near the mall's food court next to Bass Pro Shops, has closed after around 10 years at its Aurelius location.
Meanwhile, clothing store Aeropostale will close on Jan. 29, according to store staff, following an ongoing, "everything must go" sale of its goods.
The two join several others that have decided to close their mall locations, including Maurices, Olympia Sports and, in four days on Jan. 11, Sears. Unlike Sears, Aeropostale and Olympia Sports, Littman's closure was not preceded by a lengthy discount sale.
Indeed, staff members could be seen Wednesday packing up inventory behind shuttered gates.
Rene Patterson, general manager of the Fingerlakes Mall, said the mall has had preliminary discussions with other possible tenants to fill Littman's spot, but did not disclose any more details.
"They're going through some restructuring and downsizing," he said of Littman's decision.
Littman Jewelers is a subsidiary of Fred Meyer Jewelers, which is based in Portland, Oregon. The jewelry retailer has several other storefronts in the local area, including ones at Destiny USA in Syracuse and the Great Northern Mall in Clay.
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Patterson declined to comment on Aeropostale or the state of affairs involving storefronts Erin's Way Sports and Matchbox T-Shirts, each located near Littman's spot. Both were closed Wednesday morning, and store hours for each have appeared inconsistent since their openings.
Despite the closures, mall management is remaining optimistic. Patterson said talks with other possible tenants — on a local, regional and national level — have picked up after the holiday season.
The mall hired Auburn agency Bouck Real Estate to handle leasing responsibilities. Patterson said the only challenges they've had in finding tenants is common with the struggles of other shopping centers and retailers across the country.
"The mall is in good shape. We're looking forward to and are optimistic for 2015," he said.
John Bouck, owner of Bouck Real Estate, echoed Patterson's sentiments regarding Littman Jewelers. As for Aeropostale, Bouck believes the clothing retailer is struggling to adapt to changing consumer trends, particularly those of younger shoppers.
The real estate agent has made it a priority to fill the Sears space with another anchor store to match with Bass Pro Shop and JC Penney's. Negotiations to make that happen are presently underway.
Another priority has been filling spots not with household name retailers, but with more "up-and-coming," electronics-oriented storefronts in line with current consumer tastes, as Bouck described.
"We just have to start fresh, start anew."