GRAND CHUTE, Wis. (WBAY) - The parent company of Younkers, Elder-Beerman, Boston Store announced it's closing 42 stores, including nine in Wisconsin -- most of them within a few months.
The list includes Younkers department stores at:
* Fox River Mall in Grand Chute, affecting 75 employees.
* Forest Mall in Fond du Lac, affecting 59 employees.
* Lakeshore Mall in Manitowoc, affecting 38 employees.
* Pine Tree Mall in Marinette, affecting 40 employees.
Action 2 News spoke to Fox River Mall shoppers coming out of Younkers on Wednesday.
"Good store and they have some good sales sometimes," said Eunice Plutz of Kaukauna.
"Very nice store, always had a good deal here, good merchandise," said Marie Wilkins of Princeton.
The store in Grand Chute has been an anchor for the mall since 1986.
"Just so sad, we don't need this to happen," said Joann Hopfensperger of Darboy.
We reached out to the Fox River Mall about the future of the property; in a statement it replied:
"We are always disappointed to see tenants go, but it is an opportunity for new uses for the community," said John Burgland, Fox River Mall Senior General Manager. "We are not publicly ready to announce what is coming next, but when we are, we'll be sure to let you know."
Younkers says the closures are meant to create a more productive company footprint.
Other so-called anchor companies with stores at the Fox River Mall have also closed locations across the country including Sears, Macy's and JCPenney.
Action 2 News asked the Fox River Mall if these closings across the country -- now that its affecting one of its anchor stores -- is cause for concern but it wouldn't comment.
Other stores on the list to be closed include Younkers in Beaver Dam, Superior and Wausau; Elder-Beerman in Beloit; and a Boston Store clearance center in Milwaukee.
The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development says the stores in Grand Chute and Wausau are expected to close within the next eight weeks, but no later than April 1. The Wausau store will impact about 63 workers. The layoffs are expected to be permanent.
Bon-Ton Stores Inc. says employees will be offered a chance to interview for job openings at other stores, but it did not say whether those employees would be given preference.
Store closing sales will begin Thursday, Feb. 1, using a liquidator company and run for 10 to 12 weeks.
Bon-Ton Stores is already in the process of closing five stores in five states, including a Younkers in Marquette, Michigan.
The company currently has 260 stores in 24 states.
Action 2 News reported on the retail crisis facing department stores. Click here to read the story.