Discount retailer Shoppers World plans to open at Green Acres...

Discount retailer Shoppers World plans to open at Green Acres Mall in Valley Stream, taking over Century 21's former space. Credit: Howard Schnapp

The demise of off-price retailer Century 21 left a big hole in a Long Island mall that a Manhattan-based chain plans to fill.

Shoppers World, a family-owned chain of 37 discount department stores, plans to open its first Long Island store at Green Acres Mall in Valley Stream, according to the Town of Hempstead Industrial Development Agency.

The 73,000-square-foot, two-level store will occupy a space that Century 21 vacated in September after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, the IDA said.

On Thursday, the IDA approved the Shoppers World lease with the mall’s owner, The Macerich Co., a real estate investment trust based in Santa Monica, California.

"This is a wonderful addition to Green Acres Mall," Fred Parola, chief executive officer of the IDA, said in a statement last week.

The IDA holds title to the 2.1 million-square-foot mall, located at 2034 Green Acres Rd., because the property operates under a payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement the agency approved in 2015. So, the mall’s owner must get the IDA’s approval for all tenant leases.

Neither Shoppers World nor Macerich responded to Newsday’s requests for comment.

The Shoppers World store will employ about 60 people and generate an annual payroll of $850,000, according documents submitted to the IDA.

Founded in the 1930s in Baltimore by Sam Dushey Sr., Shoppers World is operated by the Dushey family.

The chain sells discounted clothes, accessories and home furnishings at stores in 13 states, including New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Maryland. The retailer has five stores in New York state — four in Brooklyn and one in Queens.

Anchor changes

The Shoppers World news is the second announcement in four months of a discount retailer leasing a large space vacated by an anchor tenant at Green Acres Mall.

In March, Irish fast-fashion retailer Primark said it would be opening its first store on Long Island, at Green Acres Mall in part of J.C. Penney’s former space. The new 35,100-square-foot, two-level store will open between September 2022 and September 2023, Primark said.

Built in 1956, Green Acres Mall has lost four anchor stores in the last two years, as department stores nationwide continue to struggle to compete with online and big-box retailers. Also, mall retailers faced even tougher conditions under the COVID-19 pandemic that led to months of government-mandated store shutdowns that started in March last year.

The anchor closings at Green Acres Mall since 2019:

  • A 107,000-square-foot Kohl’s at Green Acres was one of four "lower-performing stores" that Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin-based Kohl’s Corp. closed in April 2019.
  • Green Acres’ J.C. Penney, a 113,169-square-foot store that closed in April 2020 after 63 years at the mall, was among 156 stores that then-Plano, Texas-based J.C. Penney Company Inc. shuttered last year.
  • After Century 21 filed for bankruptcy in September, which it said was brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, the retailer closed all 13 of its off-price department stores, including the one it opened in 2015 at Green Acres Mall. (Century 21's other Long Island location was a freestanding, 21-year-old store in New Cassel that it called its Westbury location.)
  • The Sears department store and Sears Auto Center in Green Acres were closed in April this year by Transform Holdco LLC, the Hoffman Estates, Illinois-based parent company of the struggling retailer.

The only anchors left inside Green Acres are Macy’s and a Macy’s Men’s & Furniture, but there are anchors outside the enclosed mall. A Dick’s Sporting Goods is in the open-air shopping center, Green Acres Commons, adjacent to the mall and freestanding BJ’s Wholesale Club and Walmart stores are on the property.

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