Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Sears Parkdale Mall Beaumont Texas

Here is the Sears location at Parkdale Mall in Beaumont Texas. This is one of the stores that will remain open if Fast Eddie's plan is approved later this week. This store opened up sometime in the 1970's but I could not find an exact date.

The mall entrance.
Just after entering the store from the mall, we have the perfumes and jewelry.
Men's clothing

Not much NFL apparel to be found.
A closed optical department with Sears Grand baskets.
Pretty sure these were shipped in from Austin when that Sears Grand closed.

Peeling wall fixtures.

Kids clothing
The lonely checkout counter in the middle of the store.
A strange assortment of clearance items.
The store had a really large tool department, but looked to be in the process of consolidation.

These are from a very different era at Sears.
Shrinking tool department.
Auto department
The lawn and outdoor department.

A lonely, hidden price checker.
An interesting FYI in the mattress department.
The different heights of the ceilings is an interesting design.
A view of the mattress department.
This exterior of the store looks to be in very good condition.


  1. Hopefully this store, along with Sears in general, will survive. It is nice to see pictures of a Sears store which may have a future and isn't in the process of closing down. Hopefully we'll get some good news this week, but we'll see. I am optimistic that the court will choose the option which will save jobs.

    The Beaumont Sears may see extra business with the recent closure of the San Jacinto Mall Sears and the upcoming closing of the Port Arthur Sears which we recently saw on the blog. Hopefully this store will be up to the standards of these potentially new visitors.

    This Sears store is a mix of interesting touches and some odd stuff as well. I like how the fragrances are and jewelry counter is situated. These are often after thoughts at many Sears stores, but this one looks nice. Well, it's about as nice as an old Mervyn's, but it's still not too bad. The poster for the cologne is rather odd, I don't think I've seen anything like that at a Sears store.

    The carpet in this store, at least where it is clean, gives this store a bit of a more upscale look than many discount type department stores today. I've probably seen the NFL sign at other Sears stores, but I don't know how common it is. Here in this region, they might as well just put up Texans, Cowboys, and maybe Saints logos as those are the only teams they have stuff for in stock. Even then, they mainly just have Cowboys stuff.

    Those sanding belts might well be from the 1990s. They don't have the Sears logo on them, which Sears used on Craftsman products in the 1990s, so maybe it's from the early 2000s. Either way, it's not new stock I'm sure. Of course, Sears still sells garage door light bulbs in the 1990s design even though I think they are newly produced products.

    I've always preferred the Sears with integrated auto centers like this store has. Maybe I'm just biased towards those since the Willowbrook Mall Sears has that. Anyway, the auto center looks reasonably well maintained. Some of the clearance areas of this store, OTOH, look pretty rough.

    The N. Shepherd Sears also had Sears Grand carts during my last visit there last summer. I thought it was very odd seeing those. Surely they could have sent over some regular Sears carts from closing stores instead of the ones from Austin, but oh well. At least they have carts which work I guess.

    I'm sure you read that recent article about how Mexican Sears stores are much nicer than the US ones. I wonder if they were inspired by your blog posts from last year. Regardless, I have become accustomed to the new color scheme for the blog and I must say that it does look quite nice. Hopefully we'll have more good Sears news going forward in 2019.

    1. This store has a lot of good things going for it. The empty Macy's will reopen soon as a Dicks Sporting Goods and the area around the mall is thriving. The mall entrance road near Sears was also recently improved and set up for future business growth.

      The store is about the size of the Willowbrook Mall Sears first level. This was one of the earlier stores to get rid of electronics as well.

      Deerbrook also has the attached auto center, sadly they block off the auto parts department when the auto center closes. Speaking of Deerbrook, the Parts Direct store closed right after Christmas. I never saw anyone actually buying anything there, but they had a large touchscreen to view products online which was a plus.

      I did not notice those carts at the Shepherd Sears store. Next time I go, I will have to look for them.

      The hearing for the future of Sears will start next Monday. Next week will either make or break the company, there is a lot of uncertainty even with the bid. Too many objections from pensioners and creditors may kill the plan to keep the company going. I really hope Sears continues to stay open.

    2. It is good to hear that the mall is doing well even with Macy's departure. Perhaps Macy's departure says more about Macy's situation than it does about the mall's situation. Hopefully they don't lose Sears now, that might hurt the growth of the mall.

      That is unfortunate to hear about the closure of the Deerbrook Mall Parts Direct store. I've never seen anyone use the Parts Direct counters at the stores I've been to that have/had them (the N. Shepherd and ex-Baybrook Mall Sears). Sears has enough floor space that they can just stock common parts in the store somewhere and have the regular clerks help people order things online I suppose. At Willowbrook Mall, Sears has a parts and repair center near the customer pick-up entrance. It's in the store building, but not actually connected to it and they have different hours than the store. Because of this, I suppose they never considered an actual Parts Direct counter.

      The lights in the auto department are turned off when the service center closes at the Willowbrook Mall Sears as well, but it's still possible for people to pick up items from that area. I'm not sure if they want people shopping in that area after the lights have been turned off, but I guess they let people do it.

      I'm sure the court will look favorably upon Lampert's offer to save jobs. That may not be enough, but hopefully it will be. We'll see soon enough. I'm staying optimistic for now, but who knows what will happen.

    3. The Macy's store at Parkdale was always a second rate store. Foley's put a lot of effort into that location, but it seems like Macy's killed off this store and the Lake Charles location on purpose.

      As we now know, Sears has a second chance to right the ship. I think we may see a push to open more of the smaller appliance locations in the near future. I think we will see more downsized Sears stores as well. Fingers crossed that we will get at least one Kmart mini-store in the area, but I seriously doubt it.

    4. When Macy's lets a location rot, they literally let it rot. I know this was the case at the Plaza Paseo/Pasadena Town Square Macy's. Macy's let their stores deteriorate even beyond what Sears has done. But, yeah, it seems that Macy's has given up on a lot of stores in blue collar areas. Macy's seems to have some market positioning problems these days. The upscale shoppers are turned off by the decreasing quality of the goods, but the discount shoppers still find Macy's to be too expensive. Dillard's and like likes of Marshall's seems to be taking advantage of this situation.

      Yes, I was eagerly awaiting news about the Sears situation. I figured the judge would rule in favor of saving jobs and that indeed did play out to be true. I'm very pleased with the news. Having said that, we'll see if Lampert changes his methods with this second chance.

      On the surface, it seems like business at usual with Sears. It sounds like they'll be closing even more stores in the upcoming months. It sounds like Kmart stores will be hit harder than Sears stores with closures. One has to wonder if they'll give up on the Kmart concept, but we'll see.

      I recently visited the Mall of the Mainland Sears. Things seemed like business as usual. The store was pretty well stocked, the departments which normally had employees in them were manned, and the store looked to be in good condition. It looks like the displays they used for Christmas were still being used in the tool department to display common tools (screwdriver and wrench sets, etc.) which were on sale. I don't think the displays had any Christmas writing on them so I guess it'll work. Anyway, there weren't any obvious bare spots in the store which were understocked. There sadly weren't many shoppers in the store. I could probably count them on one hand, but I wasn't there at a prime shopping time either.

      Hopefully Sears gives the smaller appliance stores a chance. That's the only way they can survive in the major new suburbs without having to rely on SHOS franchise stores. Having said all of this, spending money isn't Lampert's thing compared to closing stores so I'm afraid we know how this will play out.

      I'm not expecting to see a mini-Kmart in Sears stores in this area. All of the really big Sears locations have closed. The medium and smaller sized Sears which remain probably don't have enough free room for a Kmart department. Plus, as mentioned earlier, I'm not so sure if the Kmart brand will stick around with even more closures planned.

      It looks like the SHOS stores are struggling too. The Katy Sears Hardware store is slated to close. The store in Huntsville might be the last Sears Hardware store left in the state, but I don't know.

      One bit of good news for Sears is that JCPenney will be eliminating major appliances and furniture from their stores. I can't say I'm shocked about that news. I've never heard anyone say they brought or even looked at appliances at JCPenney since they brought them back.

    5. I have not been impressed with Macy's at all. Between JCPenney and Macy's in 2018, I spent maybe $100 total. Macy's needs to figure out what they are, they do a terrible job getting the product mix right in their individual stores. It is almost like they purposely choose to kill off a store years before it happens. Sharpstown for example was one of the top performers when it was a Foley's store, then in less than 5 years it was closed by Macy's. How does that happen?

      JCPenney is in a world of trouble as well. Eliminating appliances after 3 years and most furniture from their stores will not help them grow sales. It was probably a bad idea to try and compete in those areas after being out of those businesses for so long. JCPenney is going back to the boring clothing and household item mix. JCPenney will be an interesting retailer to watch as well with these problems they are having. I really don't know the answer to help them fix the issues. There are some people commenting that maybe Ron Johnson had the right ideas and needed more time to see the ideas take off. We will never know if that is the case though.

      I am excited to see what happens with Sears. I think with Fast Eddie stepping down from the board, some real changes can happen. Maybe just maybe, we can see those Kmart mini-stores added to our local Sears stores.

      You are correct that the Huntsville Sears Hardware is the last in the state. It is crazy how quickly all of those stores have been closing without much press.

    6. Sears is talking about de-emphasizing soft lines and focusing on appliances, furniture, and tools. These would go in smaller format stores. I think it would be great if Sears opened new stores in new areas even if they only have the hardline items. Obviously, I hope at least a core of full-line stores remain if they are feasible. If not, perhaps mini-Kmart stores could be put into the space where clothing used to be, but I suspect Sears will actively try to lease that space out to other retailers.

      If Sears is focusing on hardline items, which makes sense, hopefully they'll keep the Kenmore brand. I think they've already compromised themselves with the Craftsman sale especially if they plan on keeping tools in the future downsized stores. We'll see. I think we all know the only way Sears will succeed as a retailer is if Lampert stays out of the operational side of things. That might be asking for too much, but we'll see. I'm just glad that Sears is still around and will have another shot, but hopefully they won't return to bankruptcy like RadioShack and Payless Shoes.

      Macy's seems like a mess to me. Some of their stores feel somewhat upscale, but even those stores have their areas where they feel more a Ross than a department store. The quality of the goods has most certainly declined since the Foley's era and their pricing/discounting strategy feels like a slap in the face to anyone who is even lightly paying attention to what is going on. I suppose Macy's has enough big brands in their portfolio that they can survive these problems for at least a while, but they need to find a winning strategy pretty quickly. Obviously, letting stores rot like they have is not part of that winning strategy.

      I think JCPenney would already be in bankruptcy if Ron Johnson was still around. All Ron Johnson did was run off existing JCP customers without winning over any new customers. While I like the honest price structure he tried, he still wanted department store level prices for Target/Walmart level clothing. That won't work unless they have some winning brands, but Ron Johnson killed more successful brands than he created.

      Having said all of that, I don't know how JCPenney can turn things around. In some ways, they seem to have less hope to cling to than even Sears. At least Sears still has a little bit of a reputation for being the place for appliances, but JCP doesn't really have anything. Hopefully they can find some kind of niche and can be at least as successful as Kohl's, but Kohl's probably has better locations and more money for future investment at this point.

      I hear that Walmart posted some excellent quarterly results. Their online sales were better, maybe even much better, than expected. It's truly impressive how Walmart has been able evolve with the times and stay competitive. I'm sure Amazon is feeling some heat, but Amazon has other businesses aside from retail which can still fuel their growth. I have noticed that Amazon's prices are becoming more and more uncompetitive for music. I looked at a few albums and it wasn't unusual for Amazon to be $3-5 more per album than FYE and Barnes & Noble Online. Granted, I doubt music albums are a high priority for Amazon these days, but it shows that Amazon cannot be relied on to be the cheapest option like they were some years ago. Of course, FYE and B&N are on such shaky ground that I doubt Amazon even worries about them at this point.

      Here's a quick Mall of the Mainland update. After years of work on the ex-JCPenney building, a sign for the self-storage place has finally been put on the building. I suppose that will be opening soon. With that, I suppose all of the anchors at the mall will be occupied one way or another.

    7. I will reply later, blogspotcaccidentally erased my initial comment.

    8. You're absolutely right, JCPenney does not have anything that draws people there. Sears still has their tools and appliances. JCPenney needs to find out what they are, there is just nothing that separates them from the pack.

      Macy's does not have consistent stores like you mentioned. They seem to be struggling to figure out what direction they are going in as well. Macy's has had some success with their off-brand stores, but they can't realistically convert their huge stores into that concept. They risk cheapening up their stores if they try to put the concept alongside their full priced items.

      Walmart has the kind of money to compete against Amazon. They are trying a lot of good concepts right now that are making money.

      Thanks for the update on Mall of the Mainland. Changes are happening to other malls in the area too. San Jacinto Mall has now been cut in half. The entire corridors leading to the former Sears and Mervyn's, as well as part of the middle corridor have been closed off to the public. All of the businesses have either closed or moved into the last remaining section of the mall. Plaza Paseo in Pasadena is now know as Macroplaza Mall. They changed the name once again and have big ambitions for the property. It sounds like a renovation will happen to the mall as part of their new plan.

    9. I did not realize that Pasadena Town Square had another name change. It's never a good sign when a mall changes names. Now, the mall has changed names twice! Oh well, hopefully the changes will work out for the best. I wonder how much renovation work the mall will see. Macroplaza Mall is perhaps the last truly 1980s feeling mall left in Houston except for San Jacinto Mall. With San Jacinto Mall consolidating and with the eventual plans to demolish the mall, Macroplaza Mall might be the last one left if it does not get renovations.

      Dillard's does not update their stores very often, but their stores feel much better maintained than Macy's stores. While the quality of goods at Dillard's is not always consistent, they are almost always better than what's available at Macy's. Macy's will have to find a new vision for the chain. Becoming the next Ross won't work because Ross and TJX have a lower cost structure. Macy's will have to find a way to make upscale shopping work, but they seem lost in that regard.

      Although Amazon is still doing well, I think they're going to see some tough competition on the retail side of their operation. Kroger is being very aggressive with their technology innovations. Walmart is obviously seeing a lot of successes with it's online platform. Grocery shoppers tend to be pretty loyal and Amazon may have a hard time convincing people to abandon Kroger and Walmart in order to use their grocery platform. Of course, the real losers might be independent grocers as they can't invest in online stuff, but perhaps the independents can carve out a niche for themselves as I'm sure B&M grocery stores will still be popular for years to come.

    10. I stumbled upon that article a few days ago with the name change of the mall. I really think the time to turn around the mall as a retail establishment has passed. I think they need to work on adding different types of businesses besides retail. They should move the retail to the middle of the mall and market the dead corridors to medical and office uses.

      According to the San Jacinto Mall website, 4 retailers moved into the remaining section of the mall. I did a very thorough job of documenting the mall so it will make a very nice article in the future.

      Department stores seem to be suffering all across the board. Even high end department stores like Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom are feeling the pinch.

      HEB is making a real push for the grocery dollars in Texas with continued expansion. I am not sure how much of the new things Kroger is doing are helping. Just about every grocer is doing a click list carry out program or grocery delivery. Some things like the in-store handhelds really don't do much to speed up trips and wind up having issues at checkout. I had one glitch on me and they had to try 3 different lanes for it to find my scanned items. Once Amazon starts growing their store concepts, it might force even more retailers down. Several companies announced closings in the last two weeks, Payless, Gap, Victoria's Secret, and JCPenney. Amazon and several smaller online only companies seem to be making a big dent in retail sales.

    11. Macroplaza Mall really does not have a choice but to try to emulate PlazAmericas Mall or the Mall of the Mainland in terms of going after non-traditional tenants. The only major draw Macroplaza has now is Sears and we know that relying on Sears is not a good strategy even with Sears getting new life here recently. The Sears there is in good shape and it does decent business, but there's just not enough traffic in the mall for any sort of major retail development.

      Yes, there are a lot of changes and store closures coming to malls here soon. The Gap/Old Navy split could be bad news for at least one of the retailers. Payless Shoes could not solve their problems. JCPenney looks like they are going to close even more stores than the ones they've recently announced. Macy's is in trouble as we've discussed in the past.

      OTOH, Walmart is doing well and it seems that Best Buy is continuing to do well. I had written Best Buy off some years ago, but they continue to do good work to keep their stores relevant. Retailers will surely be studying Best Buy to understand how they're doing it because it would seem that an electronics store would be most hurt by online stores. I'm sure their price matching has something to do with it.

      Kroger has already started driverless car deliveries to people's homes in a suburb in Arizona. In that regard, they are keeping pace with and maybe even are beating Amazon. Granted, I'm not so sure if those types of deals will ever really draw in the shoppers. Kroger has to be careful not to invest too much in technology at the expense of in-store quality. As you say, a lot of the in-store technology doesn't work well and/or isn't even used by most shoppers.

      HEB is doing well and has a lot of momentum. I don't like the design of their stores as I've mentioned many times in the past so I don't really shop there often, but I can't deny that they have good prices and their cashiers generally work pretty quickly. I still prefer Kroger, Randall's, Food Town, and Fiesta for various reasons, but I cannot deny that HEB is where many, if not most, Houstonians want to shop.

      Amazon is talking about creating physical grocery stores aside from Whole Foods. I do wonder if Amazon is finding the physical stores to be more difficult than they expected. There are local grocers, like the Market Basket which you just posted, which know what their local customers want and are eager to please them. It's hard for a large national retailer to match that.

      I'm looking forward to seeing what's going on at San Jacinto Mall. I suppose that mall will keep shrinking until the mall no longer exists and the center is re-developed, but we've been talking about the lifestyle center redevelopment for many years now and it still hasn't happened yet. With the Sears there gone and with JCPenney and Macy's just hanging on, it might make sense for the owners to take a cautious approach until they can secure more anchors.

    12. Macroplaza management has covered up the fountain area with seating and a stage. One of the Youtubers I follow Sal from the Expedition Log, just put out his video from the mall. Looks like they reopened the Macy's corridor after being closed for a few months. The development really needs a market to help bring in the local retailers. The shopping center just across the street is full and continues to thrive after losing several big box stores over the years. I just don't understand why the mall can't do better.

      Deerbrook had several stores closing that I saw on my visit yesterday. Gymboree, Charlotte Russe, Payless, and a local Texas store that had been there for years. A few new stores have opened with a mix of generic and name brand stores. The former Palais Royal and former Lady Foot Locker have been walled off making that corridor look empty. Once the other retailers close, it will be the most vacancies I have seen at the mall in a very long time.

      I went into the Deerbrook Mall JCPenney and saw the picked over remains of the appliance department. Only a few odds and ends were left to buy. Yet another money loser that JCPenney management did not fully implement.

      I am surprised as well that Best Buy was able to stop the bleeding and come back stronger. They were able to make one of the biggest changes in their business model to stay relevant. I had the chance to visit a Best Buy in Mexico that was inside of a mall. The store was nearly identical to a USA store, and the store was busy. Sadly electronics in Mexico are around 20% or higher than in the USA. They do have an emphasis on a credit program that they were advertising all over the store. Since there are more department store options to buy electronics there, they have to compete with in-store credit programs to get the sale.

      It seems like grocers are continuing to try and one-up each other on tech options. What I wonder is, at what point does the business suffer from all of these changes? Can the companies focus on delivery, good customer service, product selection, growth, and cleanliness all at the same time? It almost reminds me of the mistakes Kmart and Sears made by acquiring different businesses and forgetting about their core business. Even Amazon decided to close all of their pop-up stores, and have struggled to make the most out of their Whole Foods chain.

      The current owners of San Jacinto have a much better track record of redeveloping properties in the Houston area. It is no longer Triyar or one of the other crappy mall owners. I expect to see some movement on the site soon. Their profile has a lot of good shopping centers including Willowchase Center and Meyerland Plaza. https://www.frpltd.com/Properties/Properties.php?State=Texas&Metro=Houston

    13. I wonder why Macroplaza Mall reopened the ex-Macy's wing. At least the mall is now more interesting to vintage retail observers and to mall walkers. I agree that Macroplaza will need a PlazAmericas type market to it in order to make it stand out. Unfortunately, the Macroplaza area seems to only attract discount type retailers and not the retailers we would normally see at a mall except for Sears.

      It's hard to say if this is a legitimate trend or just a product of some of the recent fires and annual fuel blend changeover, but gas prices have been on the rise. While that's bad for most people, it could be good news for the Houston economy. If that happens, it could spur on new retail developments as long as retailers don't start struggling nationally due to the increases in gas prices. We'll see, but higher fuel prices could be a boost to the San Jacinto Mall redevelopment and perhaps to Marcoplaza to a lesser extent. I wouldn't expect any miracles from Macroplaza. The best we can hope for is that Sears sticks around for a while and they get a PlazAmericas type atmosphere.

      That is very unfortunate that the Y'alls Texas Store at Deerbrook Mall has closed. According to their website, the locations at Willowbrook Mall, The Woodlands Mall, and Old Town Spring still remain. I've often taken out of town guests to the Willowbrook location as it's one of the few stores in this area which sells Texas souvenirs.

      It seems that many of the stores which have closed at Deerbrook Mall have been national chain closures. Hopefully there are enough strong retailers to keep Deerbrook Mall relevant going forward. I think even fairly strong malls are going to struggle to keep high occupancy rates as national mall chains continue to struggle. Of course, the problems facing chains like Macy's and JCPenney, not to mention Sears, might be a huge risk to mall operators.

      I suspect that department stores have an edge over the likes of Best Buy in Mexico since store-offered credit is more important there and having an established line of credit makes buying things easier for people to buy from department stores rather than having separate lines of credit at many different category killer big boxes. Still, Best Buy must be doing okay if they're still around in Mexico even with all the competition from the department stores plus the likes of RadioShack and company. Musical instruments and DJ equipment seem popular in Mexico compared to the US. These are electronic items which smartphones can't totally replace. Electronics stores are desperate for items like that to keep them relevant.

      Walmart, Target, and others keep buying out tech startups and starting their own programs, but they've been doing well lately in terms of sales. Perhaps the strong are getting stronger and the weak are getting weaker, but we'll see. As much excitement as there is for curbside pickup and stuff like that, I think traditional B&M retail will still drive enough sales to keep sales floors relevant for the foreseeable future. These tech investments seem more focused than what Kmart was doing in the 1980s, but some initial success could cause the currently strong retailers to invest too much in technology while ignoring their traditional B&M shoppers. Amazon seems to be struggling with their B&M retail including Whole Foods. Whole Foods' reputation for not being for the common family might be hard to shake.

      Speaking of Kmart and groceries, I see that the Norridge, IL, Kmart is slated to close or has closed already. This was the Kmart which was the first to get many of Kmart's new experiments in recent years like the Kfresh grocery departments.

    14. The reopening of the Macy's wing did not last long. It was closed off again by a 5 foot wall when I went a few weeks ago. Fuel price increases have a short term effect on the economy here, but we are getting squeezed as well at the pump. The oil rigs will pick up which should help some people get back into better paying jobs.

      I guess the Macroplaza idea is better than Plaza Paseo which never really seemed to have been working. There are a handful of new retailers and a sign showing a fully remodeled Macy's as a new Marketplace. We will see if the plans come to fruition.

      Deerbrook still is a strong mall, but the recent vacancies concern me. One of the areas that had a large string of vacancies this time last year has been fully filled back up though. Most of those new stores are chain stores like Cotton On. There are still a lot of popular retailers that could come to Deerbrook and fill more vacancies, I think they will over time.

      These costly delivery programs will continue to hurt online retailers which will cause the costs to be passed onto consumers. Brick and mortar stores are still very popular. Sadly there are just too many in the US, and we will see a lot more close in the next 5-10 years.

      The Oakbrook Sears that had their newest remodel is closing on April 28 as well. It was not even open a year after being downsized to 1/3 of the original store size.

  2. It's pretty easy to tell the differences between the Sears Grand carts of which store they came from. The white Sears Grand would have came from the ground up Sears Grand stores while the brown Sears Grand logo carts are from the Kmart conversions to Sears stores.