Update: Sears To Retract Closure Notice for Westfield Montgomery Location; Will Stay Open

Sears signed new lease with Westfield Montgomery mall at the last minute, company spokesman says


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This story was updated at 5:10 p.m. Friday after Sears reported that it accidentally filed an official notice with the state that the Westfield Montgomery mall store would close.

An official closure notice for Sears at Westfield Montgomery mall was filed accidentally this week, and the store will remain open, a company spokesman said Friday afternoon.

“Our lease was expiring and we signed a new lease with the mall owner at the last-minute,” Sears Holdings Corp. spokesman Howard Riefs wrote in an email Friday. “Sears looks forward to continuing to serve our members and customers at this store as we have for the last 50 years.”

On Thursday, the company notified government officials that it would close the store at 7103 Democracy Blvd. and lay off up to 73 people starting in mid-March. Bethesda Beat published a story Friday afternoon, referring to the official closure notice.

Bethesda Beat could not reach Sears representatives by phone and email before publication early Friday afternoon for comment.

After the story was published, Riefs emailed and called Bethesda Beat to say that Sears accidentally filed the closure notice with the state of Maryland, which posted the news Friday on its website.

Riefs acknowledged during a phone call that Sears was considering a store closure before it worked out the new lease with Westfield Montgomery. He declined to provide any information about the lease.

He said Sears will contact the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation to retract the layoff notification. Federal law requires businesses with 100 or more employees to give 60 days’ notice of plant closings or mass layoffs.

The erroneous notice was still posted on the DLLR website by Monday, which is a holiday for state employees.

Last year, Sears Holdings sold its Bethesda store building to the Westfield Group as part of a $105 million package deal with that included two other stores. The other Sears locations that Westfield sold were located in California.

Bethany Rodgers can be reached at bethany.rodgers@bethesdamagazine.com.

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