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Good-Bye, Columbus

Federated to close downtown Lazarus store after 95 years



Federated Department Stores Inc. (Cincinnati) has announced intentions to close its Lazarus-Macy's store in downtown Columbus, Ohio, in August 2004. The company said it will not pursue a new location in the downtown area.

“Our Columbus roots are strong, and we remain firmly committed to this market, but the reality is that sales in the downtown store have fallen by more than 60 percent since 1995,” said David Nichols, president of the company's Rich's/Lazarus/ Goldsmith-Macy's division. “With our significant investment in nine other Lazarus-Macy's in the Columbus area, it is no longer economically practical for us to continue operating a downtown location.”

F&R Lazarus & Co. was founded in Columbus by Simon Lazarus in 1851. In 1929, the president of Lazarus formed Federated Department Stores along with the presidents of Abraham & Straus (New York), Filene's (Boston) and Shillito's (Lazarus' Cincinnati-based subsidiary). Bloomingdale's (New York) joined the following year.

The downtown Lazarus store was opened in 1909, with a total of 933,000 square feet of space. In 1998, the selling space was downsized to 371,500 square feet, and portions of the Front Street level, along with the fifth and sixth floors, were leased to an outside tenant. Current tenants will not be directly affected by the store's closing.

“Our decision to close the downtown store is based on factors unique to Lazarus-Macy's and we believe it should not impede the city's ongoing efforts to redevelop the downtown area,” Nichols said. The company said it will work cooperatively with local officials to find productive uses for the downtown Lazarus-Macy's buildings, surface parking lots and parking garage property.

Federated said currently intends to operate the existing Lazarus-Macy's downtown store into August 2004, with clearance sales slated to begin in June.




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