As local malls begin to reopen after the coronavirus shutdown, one major tenant has walked away from Stony Point Fashion Park for good.
H&M, the Swedish clothing retail brand, has permanently closed its store at the South Richmond mall less than three years after opening there.
An H&M company spokesperson on Monday confirmed the closure. The spokesperson didn’t cite the pandemic as a factor, and cast the move as a response to “changing customer behavior.”
The 20,000-square-foot Stony Point store already had been temporarily closed due to the pandemic, according to the mall’s website. Messages left for the mall’s spokeswoman and management office weren’t returned.
The company didn’t respond to questions about how many employees worked at the store or whether any of its other area stores are affected. There are H&M stores at Short Pump Town Center and Chesterfield Towne Center, according to the company’s website.
The H&M Group, which owns the flagship H&M line as well as other brands, announced this month that sales in the United States dropped 71 percent from March 1 to May 6, and that total sales decreased 57 percent compared to the same period last year. However, online sales increased 32 percent from the same time in 2019.
The company began to reopen stores in some of its markets in late April. In early May, about 3,000 of the group’s roughly 5,000 worldwide stores were temporarily closed. Stony Point shut down temporarily due to the coronavirus in late March and remains closed, though other malls in the region have reopened.
H&M’s departure is yet another blow for Stony Point, which has struggled in recent years in part from the same troubles that have plagued the traditional retail industry, while also suffering from other ailments.
The loan on the mall, which had been owned by real estate giant Starwood Retail Partners, was put into delinquent status earlier this year. Then this month, it was reported that Starwood lost ownership of the mall after it was put under control of a special servicer, which manages troubled commercial mortgage-backed securities loans.
And H&M is the latest large retail chain to confirm its departure from a local mall, following Nordstrom’s decision to permanently close at Short Pump Town Center by August.