SAN LEANDRO — Once a retail clothing giant, Macy’s continues to cut its workforce and stores.
Macy’s told KPIX it is closing five more stores across the country, including its store at Bayfair Center in San Leandro.
News of the closure did not come as a big surprise to many shoppers, including Darryl Dunn who was returning clothes for his mother.
“I probably come here twice a month to return something that my mother purchased,” Dunn said.
Macy’s opened at Bayfair Center in 1957 as one of the mall’s anchors.
Dunn said he has been shopping at the Bayfair store for more than five decades. He’s now 60 years old. He believes most young people either don’t shop at Macy’s or simply shop online.
“I shop in-store. I like trying on stuff real quick,” Dunn said.
Online shopping has taken a huge hit on Bayfair Center and malls nationwide. Foot taffic is so low the Bayfair shopping center boarded up and closed down an interior hallway.
“People are not coming to the store like they used to. As a matter of fact, I did all my Christmas shopping online this year,” said Oakland shopper Tommy Austin.
Some loyal shoppers suspect crime may have also played a role. Dunn said he witnessed shoplifting twice at the store in the last year.
“I’ve literally stood at this door and literally saw people with arms of stuff walking out,” Dunn said. “I literally saw a guy with a suitcase and he was loading shoes into a suitcase.”
While Macy’s did not explain why it’s closing the San Leandro store, a spokesperson wrote: “At Macy’s, we continue to reposition our store fleet to better meet the needs of our customers in each of our markets … The decision to close a store is always a difficult one but Macy’s is grateful to have served our customers and the community.”
“It’s so sad. It’s really sad,” said longtime Macy’s customer Laura Rosas.
With changing shopper habits, San Leandro city planners have been working in recent years with property owners and developers to revitalize the area.
“To be thinking big-picture and thinking about moving forward and growing that area in a sustainable and diversified way,” said Tom Liao, the city’s community development director.
Developers are planning to turn Bayfair Center and nearby real estate into mixed use buildings with retail and commerical space on the first floor and housing on the upper floors.
Liao said it would be similar to Bay Street in Emeryville but on a much larger scale.
“Gathering areas, recreational spaces, assembly areas for music, entertainment, food,” Liao said.
“That’s a good idea. Just got to make (some of the housing) affordable,” Dunn said.
Dunn said he’ll just have to drive farther from his Oakland home to the Macy’s at Hayward’s Southland Mall in the future.
“Got to look at the bright side. There’s a big sale that’s about to come up,” Dunn said.
A Macy’s spokesperson said they will soon offer steep discounts to clear out all of the inventory. It sounded as if they plan to shut down the store in April.
Once the Macy’s at Bayfair closes, there will be five stores remaining in the Bay Area. They include the stores at Southland Mall, Stoneridge Shopping Center, Newpark Mall, Broadway Plaza and Hillsdale Mall.