In yet another gutshot to State Street, Nordstrom announced Thursday it will close its Paseo Nuevo store by August. “These types of decisions are never easy because we realize what this means for our employees,” the retailer’s corporate office said in a media statement. “Our goal is to best position ourselves to serve customers in each market where we operate. Because of the impacts COVID-19 has had on our business, we need to take a critical look at the physical footprint of our stores to determine which we will continue to operate.” The Santa Barbara location is among 16 stores Nordstrom is shuttering across the country.
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The high-end department chain had helped anchor the Paseo Nuevo mall for nearly 30 years, along with Macy’s, which closed in 2017. Paseo has struggled to fill the Macy’s space, though a recent community survey revealed Santa Barbara residents would like it turned into an entertainment and retail venue. The Macy’s at the La Cumbre Plaza is now the only remaining department store in the city after Sears left that mall last year.
“We are saddened and disappointed to see the announcement that Nordstrom will be leaving Santa Barbara,” said Mary Lynn Harms-Romo, senior marketing director for Paseo Nuevo, in a prepared statement. “Our immediate priority remains with our tenants, their employees and the community we serve.”
The announcement is likely to complicate Paseo Nuevo’s ongoing negotiations with the city over a new long-term lease. Many of those tasked with revitalizing Santa Barbara’s increasingly anemic downtown, including developers, architects, and select City Hall leaders, have argued that Paseo Nuevo ought to use its empty retail space to build housing.
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