KINGSPORT — The Kingsport Town Center, formerly the Fort Henry Mall, is losing two tenants.
Waldenbooks has announced it’s closing, and Chick-fil-A will shut its doors, serving its last mall customer on Christmas Eve.
Mall Manager Kevin Harmon said that at this time of year, stores evaluate whether they’ll keep certain locations open or not. Last year around this time, KB Toys pulled out of the mall.
“We just kind of hold our breath (at this time of year),” Harmon said.
He said the leases for Chick-fil-A and Waldenbooks were expiring, and their corporate offices chose not to re-sign those locations.
Waldenbooks is owned by Borders Group of Ann Arbor, Mich., which announced in November it would shut down 200 mall stores in January, keeping only about 130 mall-based locations.
At the time, the company said it wanted to become a smaller, more profitable mall chain in fiscal 2010.
“Through this right-sizing, we will reduce the number of stores with operating losses, reduce our overall rent expense and lease-adjusted leverage, and generate cash flow through sales and working capital reductions,” said Borders Group CEO Ron Marshall.
Waldenbooks is currently offering discounts to liquidate its inventory in the mall.
Harmon said he feels confident the mall will fill the vacant spaces. He said he’s already received inquiries about the Chick-fil-A location.
“We’ll find somebody,” he said. “We’ll put something good in there in a month or two.”