Kimco announces spring tenant for Suburban Square

A shopper returns to her car in front of the Macy's in Suburban Square in Ardmore. The store had been the center's largest tenant since 2006.

Kimco Realty Corp., the landlord for Suburban Square, on Wednesday disclosed its first spring arrival for the Ardmore center: Delsette, which sells women's clothing and accessories, will take over the old Denim Habit space.

Kimco also said it hopes to announce new smaller retailers for the Ardmore center and update plans for the vacant Macy's space in a few weeks.

Macy's, which shut its 99,000-square-feet space at Suburban Square officially on March 20, had been by far the center's largest tenant since 2006, when it replaced Strawbridge & Clothier. Strawbridge's had been at Suburban Square since 1930.

Macy's spokeswoman Elina Kazan confirmed Wednesday that the store closed 11 days ago after a nearly three-month liquidation in which all merchandise was sold at deep discount. It is one of 36 stores that the giant retailer is closing nationally by spring.

Retail analysts say the departure of Macy's at Suburban Square reflects a bigger demographic shift impacting the shopping center as it tries to lure trendier retailers that appeal to a younger clientele.

"The Main Line is fiercely competitive," said Bill Park, a partner at Deloitte & Touche LLP in charge of the retail division in Philadelphia. "Suburban Square is in the midst of a transition as it tries to grow its customer base."

It added several restaurants in recent months - including Besito and Not Your Average Joe's - to spiff up the entertainment scene and extend the center's nightlife.

The Macy's closure will affect 74 employees, whom Kazan said will move to other Macy's stores in the region.

They are among 2,600 Macy's employees affected by the shuttering of the 36 stores. The real estate downsizing and workforce restructuring come as the retailer seeks to boost online sales and build an off-price division.

Online orders seem to be a bright spot for the retailer amid its brick-and-mortar closings. Macy's online sales increased 25 percent in November and December 2015, compared with the same months in 2014.

Overall holiday sales were down, however, due to an unseasonably warm winter, which made it hard to sell cold-weather gear such as coats and sweaters.

Sales in November and December 2015 at Macy's stores open at least one year were down 4.7 percent from 2014, according to the company's end-of-year earnings report.

sparmley@phillynews.com

215-854-4184@SuzParmley