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January 9, 2019

Women’s clothing store Maurices closes at Aroostook Centre Mall

Courtesy / Aroostook Centre Mall
Courtesy / Aroostook Centre Mall
The Aroostook Centre Mall in Presque Isle continues to experience fluctuations in mix of tenants. The latest closing is the late-January departure of women's clothing store Maurices.

The Aroostook Centre Mall in Presque Isle continues to experience fluctuations in its prospects.

The Aroostook Republican reported that the women's clothing store Maurices will close in late January, due to under-performance.

Maurices is a women's specialty retail chain founded in 1931 and is today one of eight apparel, shoe and accessory brands owned by the Ascena Retail Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ASNA). Maurices is part of the group's "value fashion segment," as compared with "premium fashion."

According to Ascena's "Q1 FY19 Earnings Release Supplemental Material" issued Dec. 10, 2018, Maurices had 972 store locations at the end of Q4 2018, but is expected to have 11 of those stores close during Q1 2019, leaving a total of 961. This compares with 1,008 Maurices locations in Q1 2018.

Maurices stores are concentrated in small markets of approximately 25,000 to 150,000 people, and are typically located near large discount and department stores in strip shopping centers and mall locations to capitalize on the traffic those retailers generate.

Aroostook Centre Mall opened in 1993 and continues as one of only three regional malls in Maine and is a center of commerce in Aroostook County. In 2015, the mall lost two tenants after national retailers Sears and Staples announced they would be pulling out. Sears retail and auto center was one of the largest tenants at the mall at that time.

But in 2017, Harbor Freight Tools opened a store in the struggling Aroostook Centre Mall, as well as in Rockland and Waterville. Rob Branchflower, of National Commercial Brokers, who represents the company in Maine, told Mainebiz in August 2018 that Aroostook Centre Mall was a good fit for the chain.

"It's true the mall has struggled, but Presque Isle is the classic definition of a well-located regional shopping district that is enhanced by an excellent road system," he said. Harbor Freight opened in the former Sears location at the shopping center.

The mall, which dates to 1993 and has 500,000 square feet of retail space, was purchased at a foreclosure auction by Wells Fargo in October 2017.

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