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Post-Christmas, Boise Towne Square sees raft of closings, other changes

Several retailers closed up shop at Idaho’s largest mall in recent weeks. The closures continue to pock-mark Boise Towne Square with dozens of empty retail spaces.

Last week, we told you about the closure of Abercrombie & Fitch, which leaves a large 9,000-plus square foot store space empty near Kohl’s on the mall’s east side.

The chain store is one of a number of closures and other changes impacting the mall.

Christopher & Banks’ final days

Christopher and Banks will close its Boise Towne Square store this Thursday. A liquidation sale started earlier and the store had just a smattering of items left under deep discount.

The chain declared bankruptcy and will close all 450 stores across the nation by Feb. 28, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. The paper said Christopher & Banks landlord at Boise Towne Square, Brookfield Properties, actually locked it out of the store for a time due to nonpayment of rent.

The company suspend rent payments across the chain in November.

Christopher & Banks, which specializes in missy, petite and women’s apparel, will continue to operate online.

[Vintage video shows Boise Towne Square at 1988 opening]

Fred Meyer’s farewell

The former Fred Meyer Jewelers location at Boise Towne Square – closed. Photo: Don Day/BoiseDev

Fred Meyer Jewelers, one of the few non-anchor retailers that opened with the mall in 1988 closed up shop. Owned by Kroger Co., Fred Meyer continues to prune its store count. In 2018 it said it would exit a number of “underperforming” mall locations when leases ended.

Last year, Kroger said it would shut down 71 stores inside Kroger Marketplace stores, according to jewlwery trade publication JCK. Fred Meyer once stood as the nation’s second-largst jewelry chain, but dropped under 160 stores as of last year.

Fred Meyer Jewelers launched in 1973 as part of Fred Meyer Stores. The chain continues to operate in the Treasure Valley, with locations inside the Fred Meyer hypermarket locations.

[Macy’s to exit ‘weak’ malls: How strong is Boise Towne Square?]

More closures

Starbucks closed its store upstairs near center court last fall. Despite signage saying the store was closed temporarily, the location no longer appears on the chain’s website or the mall website.

Skechers closed its company-branded store in the mall recently as well. During an earnings conference call earlier this month, the company said it would close about 25 underperforming stores in the first quarter – including Boise. The Boise Towne Square Skechers store sold the company’s shoes and other apparel products.

Next door, Salt Lake City-based Cosset closed the doors and moved out of its store. The maker and seller of bath bombs and other body care items, operates just a handful of store locations, with three in the Salt Lake City area, as well as one in Las Vegas. The products remain for sale at grocery stores across the area.

Beaty products seller Bare Minerals closed its store next to Apple on the mall’s first level.

[From shoes to mattresses: Boise’s mall adds tenant in turbulent time]

Last year, Ascensa shut down its Justice store at Boise Towne Square, as the retailer moved the brand to an online-only presence. Justice replaced Limited Too and focused on pre-tween and tween clothing.

Construction on Escape the Room, an escape room concept we told you about in 2019, wrapped up this spring, just as the COVID-19 pandemic began to impact Idaho. “Coming soon” signs remain in the windows of the space, but the business is not yet open.

Apple changes again

The Apple Store at the mall continues to adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic. The store was one of the first at the mall to close last spring, reopened, closed again, opened, converted to a walled-off express’ format — and now is back open again. The store requires online appointments to enter. Shoppers can book time with a specialist, or get support from one of its ‘Genius’ tech support folks. Customers can also order an item and pick it up in-store.

Lulu & Jake

Lululemon opened a ‘seasonal pop up’ store last fall, which BoiseDev first reported last year. The seasonal stores open for about six months according to the retailer, to test effectiveness. If the stores work, they remain. If not – they close. The Boise Towne Square store remained open as of last weekend.

Jake’s Dry Dock, which moved to accommodate the Lulu store, moved to a new location upstairs near the food court.

The mall’s website indicates it currently has 29 empty storefronts inside the main enclosed mall area, as well as the large Sears store location, which is owned by a separate entity. More than 90 stores are currently occupied.

Don Day - BoiseDev Editor
Don is the founder and publisher of BoiseDev. He is a National Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a Stanford University John S. Knight Fellow. Contact him at [email protected].

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