OKLAHOMA CITY -- There were four, then two and soon Crossroads Mall will have zero anchor stores open for business.
Steve and Barry's will be closing its Crossroads location, possibly as soon as the holiday shopping season is over.
Nothing official has come from Steve and Barry's ownership, but signs in the store and statements from store employees have convinced mall management that the bankrupt chain is about to pull the plug on its Crossroads store.
"It's our understanding that Steve and Barry's intends to close most, if not all, of their stores across the country," Jim Swenson with Crossroads Mall said. "We'll miss them here."
It's the latest piece of bad news for the struggling mall. JCPenney closed a year and a half ago, Macy's moved out last March and Dillard's closes at the end of the year.
The economy may have something to do with the closing of Steve and Barry's, but experts say there are other factors at work; increased competition from other malls and so-called lifestyle centers, and this mall's archaic design.
"It's a very large mall, with very deep bays," Vince Orza with the OCU Meinders School of Business said. "The stores in there are long and narrow versus the newer malls are short and squatty so that you have more visibility of the merchandise up close."
Vince Orza said lots of malls are hurting right now, many because they're over-leveraged. But he says, at a mall where the stores, and even Santa, aren't getting much business, the writing appears to be on the wall.
"When you have no anchors, and you have a layout design problem, that doesn't bode well for your future," Orza said.
But Crossroads officials said they are looking for new anchors, and still have 120 other stores that should be able to satisfy the shopping needs of all their customers.
"Real estate runs in cycles," Swenson said. "Crossroads has been here for almost 35 years, and we plan to continue to operate as a regional shopping destination."
Crossroads management said, in general, the holiday shopping season is off to a good start. They said they had good traffic over the holiday weekend, with some "decent sales results."