WILMINGTON – Target has announced that it will open a new store at the Prices Corner Shopping Center off Kirkwood Highway, filling the space left vacant by the closure of the longtime Sears location in 2018.
The national retail giant added the Prices Corner store, located at 3140 Kirkwood Highway, to its list of future locations this week, confirming what had been a widely discussed rumor in the market.
Target spokeswoman Liz Hancock confirmed the store in an email statement and added that the company is “excited to bring an easy, convenient shopping experience to additional guests in the community with this new Target location.”
It will occupy a reported 113,000 square feet in the former home of Sears, which shuttered its store in April 2018 after 54 years there. That would be nearly 80,000 fewer square feet than Sears occupied but is far larger than any of its other scheduled projects. Of the roughly dozen other locations underway, most are 40,000 square feet or less, with the second largest at 86,000 square feet near Sacramento, California.
It will be the fourth Target location in the state along with stores at the Christiana Mall near Newark, Brandywine Town Center in north Wilmington and off Del. 13 in Dover. Hancock didn’t have a timetable for when the new store would open.
Target will be joining a shopping center that also features a JC Penney, Gabe’s and variety of small retailers and restaurants, but it will automatically become Prices Corner’s new anchor store, bringing renewed foot traffic to the one of Delaware’s oldest shopping centers.
The shopping center’s leasing brokerage, Arrow Real Estate Services, and owner/property manager Robbins Management Co. declined to comment on Target’s posting of the location, saying they were still under a non-disclosure agreement relating to the property.
Arrow is marketing the second floor, totaling about 67,000, of the former Sears store. Damon DiPlacido, Arrow vice president, told Delaware Business Times that a new entrance to that space would be constructed, allowing a different tenant to occupy space above the anchor store.
Around the shopping center, another national retailer has signed a letter of intent for the northeast corner storefront next to Staples, Arrow reported in its marketing brochure. That spot was left vacant by the departure of David’s Bridal.
A restaurant has also signed to fill the spot between the Nail Spot nail salon and Villa clothing store left vacant by the departure of Produce Depot & Deli.
At the northwest section of the plaza, according to plans submitted to the New Castle County Department of Land Use, the nearly 19,000-square-foot former Sears Auto Center will be demolished. It will replaced with a 5,015-square-foot drive-thru restaurant and a 3,270-square-foot bank, both of which already have signed letters of intent from national retailers, according to Arrow.
Meanwhile, the closures of several other stores have left other openings in the shopping center, including Payless ShoeSource at 3,500 square feet, Oreck Clean Home at 1,750 square feet, and Radioshack at 2,750 square feet.
The arrival of Target to Prices Corner puts the modern retail economy on display as the retailer, emboldened by its embrace of groceries and quick online shopping, has allowed it to compete with fellow giants like Walmart and Amazon, while legacy retailers like Sears have struggled to survive.
Sears Holdings, the former parent company for Sears and Kmart, was forced to declare bankruptcy in 2018 and it sold its assets. Both well-known retailers were purchased by Transform Holdco LLC, which has progressively closed locations of both in the past year.
In November, it announced it would close 92 locations by early 2020, leaving only 182 Sears or Kmart stores in the entire country – as recently as five years ago there were about 2,000 locations. One Sears location at the Concord Mall in north Wilmington will be the only remnant of the company in Delaware after a Kmart in Rehoboth Beach closes by February.
By Jacob Owens